The horrors of the Holocaust still haunt Sigi and Hanka, so they kept the story of how they met a secret – which was in the Czestochowa concentration camp. But years later, they finally shared with their family the day they first met each other, revealing a beautiful love story.
“We grew up surrounded by so much love and we knew they had met in the war but we were definitely surprised by the circumstances,” said Evelyne, the couple’s eldest daughter. “We knew they had some kind of dark secret somewhere, we saw how much they loved us and each other but knew it was strange that we didn’t have grandparents, it was just the four of us. We asked them why we didn’t have other [family members] but they just never wanted to talk about it and would just say they were lost in the war.”
Sigi and Hanka first met on New Year’s Eve in 1944, inside the Czestochowa concentration camp in Poland. Men and women were typically banned from speaking at the camp, but that night, the guards allowed them to spend time together. Sigi recalled looking like a “skeleton” after years of incarceration in the camp, but he said that when he first saw his future wife, “I was struck by lightning. I just knew right then that she was the one. I still get the same feeling when I look at her now. Always, she is beautiful.”
Sigi kissed Hanka on the cheek before they parted ways that night. Though they had spent less than two hours together, they were married 17 days later, mere hours after the camp was liberated by the Red Army. They then moved to Israel, and in 1971 immigrated to Australia with their two daughters.