Born in 1927, Melitta Stein grew up in Prague as the second daughter of the Jewish Müller family. Her father ran a law firm, which he was forced to give up in the 1940s. On 2 July 1942, the family - father Karl, mother Margarethe and daughters Nina and Melitta - were deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto, and on 18 December 1942 to the Auschwitz concentration camp.
Constant hunger and the struggle for survival wore down the health of the family members. The father died. In July 1944, the women were taken to the Dessauer Ufer subcamp of Neuengamme concentration camp, where they were forced to do cleanup work in the harbor. The mother died. The girls were then transferred to the Neuengamme subcamps of Neugraben, then Tiefstack. In the course of the camp evacuations, they were taken to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where Nina also died on April 17, 1945.
At the age of 17, Melitta was liberated. She had lost 23 close family members, was the only survivor.
After the war she went back to Prague. She married and had two children. After the occupation of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union, the family emigrated to the USA. Melitta Stein regularly spoke to students about her past, in the USA, but also in Germany.
We will miss this admirable woman. Our thoughts are with her family at this difficult time.
On Wednesday, September 8, a memorial service will be held at Dessauer Ufer, where flowers will also be laid at the stumbling stone for Melitta's mother Margarethe Müller.