Klara Weinfeld

Born December, 1929 - Uzhgorod, Czechoslovakia

Klara, the daughter of Morris and Johanna Julia Weinfeld, lived in Uzhgorod, Czechoslovakia. Though a small city, Uzhgorod was the capital of the Carpathian-Ukrainian region. It was also a cultural center and hosted regional theater groups. Nearly 7,500 Jews lived in Uzhgorod and more lived in the surrounding villages. Klara's father owned menswear and textile factories. Klara's mother stayed home to raise her three children. Klara had an older brother, Frank, and an older sister, Renee. The family lived in a lovely villa just outside of town. Klara, her brother and sister attended public schools, and spent their free time with their friends, skiing and sledding in the winter, and swimming and playing tennis in the summer.

In 1938, when Klara was a nine year-old schoolgirl, Uzhgorod was annexed by Hungary. Hungary, an ally of Nazi Germany, immediately enacted anti-Jewish legislation. Life became difficult for Klara and her family. When Frank graduated from high school, he was conscripted for forced labor because he was Jewish. Realizing by 1944 that Germany would lose the war, Hungary tried to break its alliance with the Nazis. In March 1944, Germany invaded the country. Suddenly, the entire Jewish population, which had seemingly been safe from the Nazi terror, came under direct German control. Klara and her family were taken from their home on Passover eve, leaving all their possessions behind. Along with 25,000 other Jews from Uzhgorod and its surrounding areas, they were forced to live in a sealed-off brick factory on the outskirts of town. Three weeks later Klara and her family were packed into an overcrowded cattle car and deported.

Upon arrival at the Auschwitz death camp, Klara's mother was immediately taken away and murdered. Klara and her older sister, Renee, were sent to a holding area. Klara and her sister were stripped of their clothes, and their heads were shaved. Klara cried constantly and refused to eat, even though she was starving. Klara and Renee shared a bunk and slept with their arms around each other. There were daily selections for the gas chambers, and Renee tried to force Klara to eat so that she would keep up her strength and be assigned to a work detail. In September 1944, Renee and her Klara were separated. Renee was chosen for work and sent to the main camp. Over the next four weeks, Renee and Klara would meet before roll-call near the fence that separated their camps. One morning Klara did not show up. She had been selected to die in the gas chamber.

In This Section

Buy Tickets Contact Us Simon Wiesenthal Center

Become a Member Volunteer Calendar

Sign up for E-News