Irene Blász Cscillag

  • Birth and Early Life

    Birth and Early Life
    Irene Csillag was born in 1925 in Satu Mare, which a the the time was in Romania. She grew up in a large Jewish community with her mother and father, and her little sister, Olga, who all spoke Hungarian, along with German. Csillag attended school through high school and then became a dressmaker. The image is of Irene, her mother, and her sister, Olga, before the Holocaust.
  • Hungary takes over Romania and was occupied by Germans

    Hungary takes over Romania and was occupied by Germans
    Hungarians came into Romania and cause Romania to be annexed to Hungary. Meanwhile, the Hungarians joined the Germans, who occupied Hungary in November of 1940. This restricted the civil rights of Jews. Irene Csillag said, "When the Hungarians took over it was no longer the same. The sitaution definitely worsened." The mandate shown was printed by the Germans after they occupied Hungary, or previously Romania, stating that Romanians may not work for Jews.
  • The Yellow Star Badge

    The Yellow Star Badge
    The Germans forced all the other Jews living in Satu Mare, along with Irene, and ever other Jews under German control wear a yellow patch of the Jewish star made out of a coarse material. Even Jewish shops had to display a Jewish badge on their store sign. Along with wearing the patch, Jews in Csillag's town were restricted to a curfew set by the Germans. The magazine clipping shown is from late 1944, and dsiplays the Jews being forced to wear the yellow star badge.
  • Csillag and Family Moves to Ghetto

    Csillag and Family Moves to Ghetto
    The curfew didn't last long, for 4 weeks after the curfew was set, Csillag and her family, along with 18,000 Jews were moved into the ghetto inside Satu Mare. The ghetto was very crowded but there was enough food for everyone. SS guards stood on guard around the ghetto at all times and were in charge of life inside the ghetto. The picture shows SS officers standing gaurd over Jews when moving into the Ghetto
  • Csillags Deported From Satu Mare Ghetto

    Csillags Deported From Satu Mare Ghetto
    After four weeks in the ghetto, Irene and her family, along with thousands of others were deported out of the ghetto and put on trains, with no idea of where they were headed. Irene was packed into a tight cattle car, forced to stand for the entire 4 day journey, without any bathroom. Because if the horrible conditions, Irene lost a friend from school on the way. The images shows girls like Irene and her mother and sister getting into the cattle car on their way to the concentration camp.
  • Arrives at Auschwitz-Birkenau

    Arrives at Auschwitz-Birkenau
    When Irene got off the train, she saw the sign "Abreit Mach Frei," and soon realized they had broughten them to Auschwitz-Birkenau, located in Oswiecim, Poland. Luckily Irene's mother and sister were selected to go with her into the same barack during selection where they were tattooed numbers onto their arms. Life at Auschwitz was unlike anything Irene had ever experienced, but she managed to stay healthy, as did her mother and sister. The map is the layout of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp.
  • Csillag's Transported To Stutthof

    Csillag's Transported To Stutthof
    After 6 weeks at Auschwitz, Irene and her mother and sister were transported to a smaller but similar concentration camp called Stuttfof, located in Poland, near Gdansk. Here, Irene worked inside the kitchen, which was ideal because she was able to grab food scraps and bring them to her mother and sister. Despite the extra food, Irene's mother was unable to stay healthy, and died that Winter. The document shown is a woman's records that she had been sent to the Stutthof camp, like Irene.
  • Transported from Stutthof to Danzig

    Transported from Stutthof to Danzig
    Sometime near the Jewish holiday of Purim, Irene and her sister were transported yet again to another, smaller, concentration camp called Danzig. Irene didn't work here, but there was barely enough food for survival. There was no way of knowing how long they spent at Danzig, and Irene even said, "There was no way to measure time, we didn't even know what day it was." This image shows the town of Danzig, where the concentration camp was located, after it was bombed in late 1945.
  • Germans run from Russians and Americans

    Germans run from Russians and Americans
    Because the Russians and Americans were closing in on Germans, the Nazis had to run from them, taking the Jews with them. Irene and her sister were taken from Danzig and crammed onto a Nazi ship, along with hundreds of other starving Jews, without food. When they arrived to land after a week at sea the SS officers forced the Jews to march for hours. The image is of a ship much like the one Irene and Olga traveled on that Germans used to get themselves and Jews away from Russians and Americans.
  • Biritsh save Irene and Her Sister, Olga!

    Biritsh save Irene and Her Sister, Olga!
    After marching for hours, Irene noticed that fewer and fewer SS officers were marching them, and evetually they all disappeared. After marching on, Irene and the rest of the jews arrived at a football field and were greeted by the British, who had barrels and barrels of food for the deprived Jews. Irene and her sister were sent to the hospital to recover from the harsh months in the concentration camps. The image shown is a list released by the British with names of Jews they rescued in 1945.
  • Irene and Olga Attend School in Neustadt

    Irene and Olga Attend School in Neustadt
    The British gave Irene and Olga accomodations to attend school and a place to live in a dorm. Their school was in Neustadt, Germany, but Irene wished to trave back to Satu Mare and find any surviving family memebers and collect any family heirlooms. She did just that, and found her uncle and aunt still living there, but could not find any items that belonged to her mother or father before the Holocaust. The image is of one a the many schools provided by the British for Holocaust victims.
  • Irene And Husband Move to Canada

    Irene And Husband Move to Canada
    After visiting Satu Mare and returning back to her sister in Neustadt, Irene met her future husband, Teddy. Following their marriage, they deicided to emigrate to Canada and have a family. Even with the hardships Irene has been through, she still manages to lead a successful life as an active member of local Zionist group. The image is a portrait of Irene and her huband, Teddy, after the Holocaust.