Olga Horak was only seventeen years old when German troops marched into Slovakia in August 1944, forcing her and her family into short-lived hiding and then into the hands of the Nazis. From transit camps to death camps, from terror to horror, Olga and her mother struggled to survive in the face of hatred, brutality and day-to-day privations of the greatest severity. Shunted from Auschwitz to Trachenberg, then to Dresden and finally to Belsen, Olga was reduced to skin and bones by the time the British troops arrived on 15 April 1945 to liberate her and her fellow prisoners. On that very same day, Olga’s mother died.
Emotional pain and physical illness made Olga’s recovery long and slow, but eventually she returned to Bratislava to rejoin her few remaining relations and friends. There she met, fell in love with and married John Horak, another Holocaust survivor, and the couple emigrated to Australia to begin a new life.
Auschwitz to Australia is one woman’s testimony of a terrible period of human history. It is the story of cruelty, greed and loss. But it is also the story of love and compassion, and of how even the deepest wounds can at least in part be healed with time and caring.