Rifcha and her family were living normal, happy lives. There was school, work, family dinners, outings and vacations. That was until 1938 when the first bit of turmoil started to hit their village located in the Sub-Carpathian mountains – anti-Semitism started running rampant like a disease. It began taking ahold of everyone around them. Those who were once friends now became vicious enemies. Rifcha began to realize that her world was about to crumble.
On April 18, 1944, Rifcha and her family were ripped from their home and taken by gunpoint to the Mukacheve Ghetto. The conditions were harsh and virulent but the entire family was alive and together. Their stay in Mukacheve Ghetto was brief. One month later they were loaded into cattle cars and taken to Auschwitz II- Birkeneu.
Selections were made as soon as the family was pulled from the train. There were no last hugs. No good-byes. As Rifcha’s mother and her youngest siblings were being torn away and taken to their final death march, Rifcha’s mother made her promise to take care of her sisters, to survive and to make sure she told the world of the atrocities of the Holocaust. At the gates of Auschwitz, Rifcha decided to become someone new. She gave herself a new name: Edita with the meaning: Spoils of war.
Over a million people, lost their lives in Auschwitz II – Birkenau, mostly in gas chambers; today, it is the world’s largest Jewish graveyard. At the height of the selections, the murders would peak at 10,000 a day. This camp was home to Dr. Josef Mengele. This was where he did all of his medical experiments. Edita fell prey to Dr. Mengele several times, even becoming victim to his knife, which ended up saving her life. When selections were being made for the eviction of Auschwitz-Birkenau II, Edita once