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In 1939, Helen Jonas, a young Jewish girl, lived in Poland with her family. "I was 14 when the war broke out," she says. "Within a short time, we were told that we all have to move to the ghetto. Within a couple of months, two SS [officers] walked into our room and took my father away."

Helen's father was killed in the gas chambers at the Belzek death camp. Meanwhile, Helen, her mother and her two sisters were sent to a concentration camp near Krakow. It was there, she says, that Amon Goeth handpicked Helen to become a slave in his house.

"My first job was to iron his shirt. As I'm ironing the shirt, he slapped me so hard on my cheek. He said, 'You stupid Jew. You don't even know how to iron a shirt properly,'" Helen says. "And I started to cry. And he hit me so hard again. In that moment, I realized that I have to grow up. I'm no more child. I'm no more with my mother. I am here, and I have to obey."
FROM: Left for Dead: The Gay Man Who Befriended His Attacker
Published on January 01, 2006


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