Two Jewish sisters, who long outlived the Nazi regime, died 10 days apart in Alabama.
Ruth Scheuer Siegler died on September 3 at 95 years old, just over a week after her sister Ilse Scheuer Nathan died at 98 on August 23. After surviving the horrors of the Holocaust, including the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, Siegler and Nathan moved to the U.S. to fulfill their father’s dream, eventually settling in Birmingham, Alabama, CNN reported.
“It is with profound sadness that we share that our dear and beloved survivor and friend, Ruth Scheuer Siegler, passed away on Saturday, September 3, at the age of 95. Her passing was a mere 10 days after that of her sister, Ilse Scheuer Nathan, with whom she held a special bond both before, during, and after the Holocaust,” the Alabama Holocaust Education Center (AHEC) wrote in a Facebook post Tuesday.
Siegler and Nathan were both born in Germany and lived there until fleeing to Holland in 1939 following Kristallnacht. Their father Jakob was arrested by Nazis five years later for refusing to remove his cap for a German officer. Instead of fleeing again, the family chose to stay together, and were all sent to a concentration camp before ending up in Auschwitz II-Birkenau.
The sisters managed to survive the death camp, but their mother, Helene, and brother died at the hands of the Nazis in the camp. Siegler and Nathan never saw their father after his arrest, but the last time he was with them, he gave them the address of a cousin who lived in America.
After Siegler and Nathan were moved to a concentration camp in Poland and Russian troops began advancing on the Nazis in 1945, the Germans forced the sisters to walk on a four-week death march with 800 other girls, according to AHEC. The sisters were two of the 50 to survive the march.
Siegler and Nathan were left by fleeing Nazi soldiers on the side of the road to die. They made it to a farmhouse, but to their dismay, it was occupied by SS soldiers. The soldiers soon left the sisters in the farmhouse, however, and a Russian soldier later found them and took the girls to Russian headquarters.
Eventually, Siegler and Nathan reconnected with relatives in Holland who had survived the Holocaust before moving to America in 1946 and living with their cousin in Brooklyn, New York. Both sisters married German-born Jews in 1949. Nathan moved to Birmingham with her husband that year, and her sister and brother-in-law joined her there in 1960, where the two spent the rest of their lives together with their children and grandchildren.