Today, just three months after being transported to Theresienstadt, Ella's Aunt Juling (Julie Fraustadter Simson) has died.
I don't know if Ella knew that she was transported. There is a good chance she did. I don't know if Ella knew that she died. There is a good chance that she suspected she may not have survived the ordeal, but likely Ella had no idea when and how her aunt died. We hardly know. On the other side of the world, with only 25 words of news from his mother (and no letters that we have from August or Patti)- Opa likely knows nothing but the risk to all his family.
Theresienstadt was not a camp like Dachau and Buchenwald, where anyone not fit for intensive manual labor were sent immediately to the gas chambers where they were killed. Theresienstadt was not a "death camp" but death certainly pervaded. Deaths in these smaller camps were often a direct result of the appalling conditions, when the people cramped into excessively tight living quarters were fed with starvation rations. They had no means of washing their hands or access to clean water. For most prisoners, it was only a matter of time before they became sick. Poor conditions further weakened their immune systems. In any of the Nazi camps, survival was always to beat the odds. The Nazis had no intention of keeping anyone alive.
I don't know exactly how Aunt Julie died, but she was an older woman, possibly in her 70s, who was likely in weak physical state when she arrived. Diseases like typhus, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, and dysentery were lurking killers in the camps. It is my assumption that she became sick and died of one of these diseases.
So here, in this little blog of a small audience, I speak and write her name. Julie Fraustadter Simson. I'm heartbroken that her world twisted around her in her last days, in such a way that robbed her of time and peace. God keep her and bless her.
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