Working on the Trauma

Maya Laster-Wallfisch’s mother survived the Holocaust. It affects the family over generations

First published in Der Freitag, Number 16, April 15, 2020

Maya Lasker-Wallfisch

The Holocaust was not ended with the liberation of the concentration camps. It lives on in all those who were in contact with it,” writes Maya Jacobs, née Lasker-Wallfisch, in her debut. The 62-year-old tells very personally how the persecution and murder of her family affected her. Her mother Anita Lasker-Wallfisch survived Auschwitz because she “was allowed” to play the cello in the orchestra there – for the forced laborers and those doomed to die on their way to the gas chambers, day after day. The cellist was also able to save her older sister Renate. The teenagers overcame typhus and in 1944 were transported to Bergen-Belsen, where they were liberated. Anita was 19 then and had been an orphan for three years: The Nazis had murdered her parents.

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