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Edith Schwimmer, the younger daughter of Ephraim and Miriam Schwimmer, lived in a small town in rural Czechoslovakia. Her father, a grocer, had studied in the town's Jewish seminary. When Edith was five years old, Hungary annexed the area. Various anti-Jewish measures that were passed by the Hungarian government caused economic hardship. In addition, many of the Jewish citizens were conscripted into forced labor and were subjected to inhumane treatment. Edith, her older sister Rashka, and her parents coped with the restrictions, and life went on.
In March 1944, when Edith was eleven years old, the Germans invaded Hungary, setting into motion a plan to destroy the country's entire Jewish population.
Beginning in April, Jews were required to receive food rations. They were forced to wear the yellow star. On the first day of Passover, Edith and her family were forced to leave their home without notice and to move into a sealed-off ghetto in the nearby city of Nagyzsollos. All the Jews of the city and of the towns in the surrounding area were concentrated into four streets. The ghetto was crowded with 12,000 to 14,000 people. Lacking adequate food, medication, and sanitation, many of these people died.
Towards the end of May, Edith and her family, along with the other Jews in the ghetto, were forced into crowded, locked cattle cars and transported to the Auschwitz death camp.
After an agonizing journey of several days, with little food or water, the prisoners arrived. Edith and her family were immediately sent to the gas chambers where they were murdered. Edith was eleven years old.