Trudy Rappaport


Early in 1940, Trudy had planned to join her parents in Shanghai but her passport never arrived, and she was stranded in Stuttgart with no escape route. “I was arrested by the Gestapo like a criminal and sent to the ghetto in Riga, Latvia.” It was the start of a journey that took her through 10 different concentration camps.

In 1944, with the allies approaching, Trudy was forced on a march to keep ahead of the advancing Russian army. One night, the women slept in a barn on the floor with hundreds of sick people. Many had been there with little food or water for weeks. In the morning they were awakened by the cries of Russian soldiers announcing “You are free, you can leave.” “It was unbelievable,” Trudy said. “We didn’t know where to go, which direction. We walked for days, on roads filled with the dead bodies of Germans and their horses.” Finally, Trudy was too sick and weak to go on.

“I was picked up by the Russians and taken to a hospital where I stayed for seven weeks with typhoid fever. So many people died in the hospital, they went through hell and then died in the hospital. It could have happened to me.” Trudy was in the hospital on May 9th when the war ended.

It took nine years for Trudy’s parents to learn that she had survived. When they were finally reunited in New York, Trudy was pregnant with her first child. “I am happy that I survived to see my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”