Silver Star Itka Zygmuntowicz
“I’ve had so many tragedies and so many miracles in my life,” says Itka Zygmuntowicz. “I’m the luckiest unlucky woman.”
Though she has not let the tragedies destroy her spirit, they easily could have. Itka is a Holocaust survivor of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, forced with her family into an overcrowded ghetto when she was only 15 and herded into a concentration camp at 16, emerging completely alone at 19. To comprehend where she’s been is simply impossible; that she can talk about it, remarkable. And it’s not easy—she breaks into tears several times, then just as quickly composes herself and continues on with her story. A tragic memory gives way to a side story of hope and humor. Her words, which roll out in a beautiful Polish accent, are riveting.
It took the memories of love, the grounding from the wise sayings of her mother and grandmother, and sheer determination to get her through it all.
(Click Silver Star Itka Zygmuntowicz Photo Gallery to see pictures of her early life and relatives lost in the Holocaust.)