04/21/2020 News

In memoriam Gloria Hollander Lyon

Today we received the sad news that Gloria Hollander Lyon passed away on Friday, the 10th of April, at the age of 90.

Together with her four brothers and her sister, Gloria, born in 1930 in Nagy Bereg, grew up in a sheltered Jewish home. In 1938, the territory of Carpathian Ukraine was annexed to Hungary. Now the antisemitic stigmatisation, repression and exclusion began. With the German occupation of Hungary, the deportation of the Hungarian Jewish population followed. In May 1944, Gloria Hollander was deported to Auschwitz in one of the first trains. Only by jumping off the truck and hiding for one night did she escape the gas chamber.  Instead, she was assigned to forced labor and deported via Bergen-Belsen concentration camp to various subcamps of the Neuengamme concentration camp. She survived seven concentration camps before she was evacuated to Sweden as part of the "White Buses" rescue action of the Swedish Red Cross. There she learned that her parents, her sister and two of her brothers had also survived. On her mother's advice she emigrated to the USA where she stayed with relatives. In 1949, she married the German-Jewish refugee Karl Lyon, with whom she settled in San Francisco and had two sons.

Throughout her life Gloria Hollander Lyon remained mentally and physically marked by concentration camp imprisonment. She dealt intensively with her experiences, spoke as a contemporary witness and gave testimony in life story interviews. She visited the places of her concentration camp imprisonment several times. Most recently, in 2010, together with her son David, she took part in the conference "Survivors of the camps talk to their children. Public remembrance of the concentration camps and communicating experiences of imprisonment to younger generations” at the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial.

The staff of the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial Site mourns the loss of a cheerful, charming and intelligent woman. Our compassion goes out to her two sons, nine grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. We have lost an important time witness and a good friend.