Holocaust survivor Eddy Boas has written his memoirs.
“We are the only family that went into the camps together and came out together” says Eddy Boas, one of the youngest Jewish survivors of the Holocaust and author of I’m Not A Victim, I Am A Survivor.
Born in The Hague, Holland in 1940, Eddy was three months old when the Nazis invaded and three years old when his family was rounded up and sent to Holland’s Spoor train station. From there he was loaded into a cattle wagon with his mother Sara, his father Philip and older brother Samuel. They were deported to Westerbork concentration camp where they were kept in the largest barrack.
In 1944 the family was transported in a cattle wagon to Bergen-Belsen. They were kept in Star Camp along with 6,000 other prisoners who had been designated for possible exchange with German prisoners of war. Philip was selected to care for the horses in the camp and to move the bodies of deceased prisoners. “That gave him an opportunity to steal food from the horses and give it to us” Eddy explains. “My brother would follow him around the camp as he was picking up bodies. My brother would crawl through the crowd and my father would drop a potato or a turnip and a carrot onto the ground and my brother would pick them up, crawl back and run to my mother. That is part of why we survived, because food in Bergen-Belsen was very scarce.”
On 8 April 1945 as the British advanced, the Star Camp prisoners were divided into three groups and were loaded onto trains bound for Theresienstad. The train with Eddy’s family was forced to take a long, tortuous route back and forth between the Russian and German front lines due to Allied bombing and became known as ‘the lost transport’.
The train was eventually liberated by the Red Army near the German village of Troebitz.
Finally after many years of further trauma, the family arrived in Australia in 1954.