…MY MOTHER TELLING ME, VERY SERIOUSLY, I’M GLAD THAT YOU HAVE BRAINS BECAUSE YOU HAVE NO LOOKS. I had two beautiful sisters, Magda and Klara, both older, and I took what my mother said to heart, and I was not angry with her. I wanted to prove how smart I was, so I did really well in school. Just because someone tells you that you’re not pretty, or you’re not smart doesn’t mean you have to give up, because the only one you have for your lifetime is you.
…MY FIRST BOYFRIEND, ERIC. He told me that I had beautiful eyes and beautiful hands when we were separated at the transport to Auschwitz. We met in Kosice when I was 14 and we were together for two years before being taken to Auschwitz. He was on a different transport on the same day. Years later, I was told by his family that he had been shot the day before my liberation on May 4, 1945.
…I WOULD ASK MY FATHER FOR MONEY. I knew to do it when he was playing billiards with his cronies because he would want to save face in front of them. He would always be more generous then and so I would make sure to ask him for things during those moments. Timing is everything.
…BALLET AND GYMNASTICS WERE THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS IN MY EARLY LIFE. They had so much meaning for me, and I think they also helped to save me. In Auschwitz, I could not change what was outside of me; they could throw me in a gas chamber at any minute. But at night, I could escape into my head and be dancing. I could be with my boyfriend and imagine when I would see him again.
…DANCING FOR DR JOSEF MENGELE. He was also known as the “Angel of Death.” He came to the barracks and wanted to be entertained. The girls I shared my bunk with pushed me in front of him because they knew I was a dancer. He told me to dance for him while he selected others to go to the gas chamber. I was dancing for my life; in my mind the music was Tchaikovsky and I was dancing Romeo and Juliet at the Budapest Opera House.
Afterwards, he gave me a piece of bread. I could have gobbled it up, but I climbed up to the top bunk, to my friends and shared it with them.
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‘Control Freak’ is available in paperback and e-book from Amazon.co.uk, paperback available from Waterstones, W.H. Smith, Foyles.co.uk, Brownsbfs.co.uk or directly from Pegasuspublishers.com from £8.99.
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