My Sister Rivkale

By Frieda Langsam

I’d like to write about my sister Rivkale and I hope I will be able to express myself as to why I choose to write about my sister.

My sister was four years older than me. We grew up in a small town in Hungary where most of the Yiden in the town were frum. The famous Lisker Rebbe and his family were born in this town and lived there too. My sister was an exceptionally good person, always helping everyone. Nothing was too hard for her to do. She was also very smart and loved to read a lot. Of course the books were only in Hungarian, but she taught herself the English language. I was always running after her and I tried to copy everything that she did.

But that life ended when I was fifteen years old and she was nineteen. We were taken away from our warm home and separated from our family in Auschwitz.

Here is what I would like to share about my sister. The way she took care of me is indescribable. There was hardly any food but my sister gave me her food, taking out the bite from her mouth and giving it to me. She made sure that I was covered since it was very cold and we didn’t have any warm clothing. We also had an aunt with us in the camp and when she got sick my sister helped her as much as she could.

After suffering through the most unimaginable hardship and the horror of the death march, the war finally ended. With Hashem’s help, we were liberated by the British army in Bergen Belsen. However, we were all very sick with typhus.

My liberation was very sad because my sister died one week after the liberation. I was very sick then and did not know what was going on. Maybe that was a good thing. I was left alone and I was sixteen.

I still consider myself lucky because when I returned home I received the good news that my father and my older brother survived and came home too. But I will never forget my mother, my sister Rivkale and my precious younger brothers and sisters.

The above is just a very short description of what happened during those years. It would take many more pages to write about everything we endured.

However, what I would like to impart to my children and grandchildren is that when we are faced with challenges and pushed to our limits the strength that Hashem gives us is unbelievable. And it is those challenges that help us grow and make us who we are. And although the pain seems never ending, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

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