Holocaust Survivor Reunites With Family of Soldier Who Gave Her Message of Hope After Auschwitz Liberation
A survivor of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp used Twitter to find an American former soldier who gifted her an item 76 years ago that gave her hope to move forward in life.
Lily Ebert — a native of Bonyhád, Hungary, who now lives in London — was given a German bank note by a Jewish-American soldier during a death march from a Buchenwald subcamp. Ebert was a prisoner of the Auschwitz concentration camp but was later transferred to a slave labor factory in Altenberg, Germany.
The soldier had also written a message for Ebert on the bank note: “A start to a new life. Good luck and happiness.”
During the coronavirus pandemic, her great-grandson, Dov Forman, shared a picture of the bank note on Twitter, hoping to find its original owner.
Forman said on “Good Morning Britain” on Tuesday, “I remembering joking with Lily that I’ll find the soldier within 24 hours. I posted it and the tweet went viral, and it turned into an international hunt for the soldier. We managed to find him within eight hours. It was an incredibly special moment, to be able to reunite them.”
Forman added about the banknote, “I realized how much value it had to Lily and everyone in the world because it shows the kindness that liberators gave to the survivors. And it gave Lily hope after she was liberated.”
The former soldier died in 2013 but Ebert spoke with his family in a video call, and called the reunion “a miracle.” She said, “You cannot explain with words what it meant, because something like that, I know it is not only for me, it is for the whole world, really. From this story you can [learn to] never, ever give up in life.”
Ebert’s memoir, “Lily’s Promise: How I Survived Auschwitz and Found the Strength to Live,” is set to go on sale Thursday with a foreword written by Britain’s Prince Charles. She told “Good Morning Britain” that she wrote the book to educate future generations about the Holocaust and explain to the world “what can happen when we are not tolerant with each other; when we think somebody is worth more than somebody else.”
“I promised myself if I survived [the Holocaust], I will tell the world what happened. And I kept my promise,” she said, before sharing some words of wisdom. “We must know that all of us are the same. No one is superior to somebody else. [If] we learned this lesson, the world would be a much nicer place to live in … Be tolerant with each other, help each other and instead of killing, teach people to be good human beings. That should be our aim.”
Editor’s note: this article was updated to correct details about Lily Ebert’s biography.