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Studio portrait of twin sisters, Yehudit and Lea.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 65513

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    Studio portrait of twin sisters, Yehudit and Lea.
    Studio portrait of twin sisters, Yehudit and Lea.

This photograph was hidden in an attic and retrieved after the war.

    Overview

    Caption
    Studio portrait of twin sisters, Yehudit and Lea.

    This photograph was hidden in an attic and retrieved after the war.
    Date
    Circa 1938 - 1940
    Locale
    Simleu-Silvaniei, [Transylvania; Bihor] Romania
    Variant Locale
    Hungary
    Simleul-Silvaniei
    Shamloya
    Somlyo
    Szilagysomlyo
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Yehudit Csengeri Barnea

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Yehudit Csengeri Barnea
    Source Record ID: Collections: 2004.622.1

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Biography
    Yehudit Barnea (born Yehudit Csengeri) and her twin sister Lea are the daughters of Zvi Csengeri (b. 1/7/14) and Rosalia (Rosie) Engel Csengeri (b. 4/25/16). Zvi and Rosie were married on August 2, 1936. The twins were born on June 6, 1937 in Simleu Silvaniei, Transylvania, Hungary where Zvi owned wine cellars and exported wine. The children grew up in Budapest cared for by teachers and governesses. The family was religious and Zionist. Yehudit and Lea started first grade at a Hungarian school. In 1942 Zvi, their father, was into a Hungarian forced labor battalion and taken to the Ukraine. Though he was told he was only going for four weeks, he did not return until 1945. In March 1944 Germany occupied Hungary and immediately began instituting anti-Jewish decrees. On May 4, 1944 Yehudit, Lea and their mother Rosie were taken first to a brick factory that served as a transit camp and from there were deported to Auschwitz. Rosie managed to send her husband a postcard telling him about the deportation. Besides Yehudit and Lea, there were sixteen other sets of twins on the transport, and upon their arrival in Auschwitz the twins were separated from the rest of the transport. Since Yehudit and Lea would not let go of their mother, Rosie was selected to accompany the children to camp II b. There the twins were tattooed and given short haircuts. Rosie asked another prisoner what had happened to the rest of their family. She was told that they were all being gassed and burned and she and the girls had been saved only due to the fact that they were twins. Josef Mengele and other Nazi physicians took blood samples, measurements and photographs of their bodies, and injected them with various pathogens. One day Rosie tried to stop Mengele from drawing her twins' blood; as a result he injected her with meningitis virus. After a second injection, she lost her hearing completely and her speaking was affected as well. Rosie worked disposing of bodies from the infirmary in Auschwitz in order to stay close to her daughters. She escaped being sent to the gas chamber three different times when it was decided that she was not needed any more. When the Germans evacuated Auschwitz in early January 1945, many of the twins including the Csengeris girls stayed behind and were more or less on their own for the next few weeks, until Soviet troops liberated the camp in late January. Rosie and her daughters settled temporarily in the nearby town of Katowice. When she learned that two other Mengele twins, Miriam and Esther Mozes, were living nearby in an orphanage, Rosie took them in and cared for them along with her own daughters for the next half a year. She brought all the children back to Simleu Silvaniei where they reunited with Zvi. The twins recognized their father instantly since Rosie had managed to keep photographs of him. Nine months later, Rosie gave birth to a son Michael, and Yehudit and Lea resumed first grade in a Rumanian school. Yehudit, Leah, her parents and younger brother moved to Israel in 1960, and Yehudit married two years later. Her parents lived to see nine great grandchildren born.
    Record last modified:
    2005-02-22 00:00:00
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/pa1155176

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