“They weren’t allowed to take anything with them when the Nazis came and took them out of their homes. My grandma was first moved to a ghetto where they had her making leather gloves and boots. She managed to steal a few leather scraps and make this heart, where she tucked away photos she had managed to take with her – her parents on one side and herself and her boyfriend on the other. Once she was moved to the concentration camp, she had to hide it under her tongue because there were regular strip searches. She did this for four years – in Plaszow, in Auschwitz, and until she was finally liberated from Bergen-Belsen on liberation day. She faced the unimaginable each and every day and was a part of one of the worst genocides in human history, but she refused to leave this small token of her family behind. And for the rest of her life, she refused to allow those four years to define her. She was a funny, fiercely loving, positive woman her entire life, up until the very end.”

Helen Platt was born in Tarnów, Poland in 1918. After the war, she lived in Sweden where she met and married William, also a survivor. Helen and William had a baby girl and immigrated to the US in 1953. Helen passed away in 2016 at the age of 98. Her granddaughter Simone continues to share her story so that the world will #neverforget.

Photo: Simone Miller
Source: American Society for Yad Vashem