Holocaust survivor Noémi Ban's 2006 return to Auschwitz
On July 1, 1944, after riding from Hungary for eight days in a train’s filthy cattle car, Noémi Ban arrived at the Auschwitz - Birkenau death camp in Poland. The Nazi doctor Josef Mengele sent four members of her family into a line to his left and sent Noémi into a line to his right. Noémi turned and looked at her family for the last time. She would never see them again.
On July 1, 2006, as rain fell softly, Noémi lead a group of teachers, students, friends and family down a gravel road in Auschwitz, near the same spot where she was separated from her loved ones. Some in the group had tears in their eyes, some smiled sadly and all listened respectfully.
I am one of the college students who had the honor of returning with my dear friend Noémi. I came so I could hear Noémi's memories, and record what I experienced through my journal entries, photographs, and voice recordings. From them I have created an article and this Web site, which I hope others will use to understand some of Noémi's return.
Tyson Horner, an 8th grade teacher from Monroe said, “There’s no way to have the kids [his students] walk through Auschwitz, holding hands with Noémi, and crying alongside of her. But I want to teach the Holocaust in terms of it happening to real people, to Noémi Ban.”
That is my goal as well. Only a survivor such as Noémi can comprehend what it was to survive Auschwitz- a place synonymous with the horrors of the Nazi death camps. We must preserve and honor Noémi's memories and the memories of all survivors.
Writing, initial Web design and photos by Sean DeButts
Copyright © 2006, Sean DeButts