Mystery of Holocaust escape girls solved after 84 years
A picture of three Jewish girls fleeing Nazi Germany became an iconic image in museums, exhibitions, and publications. The photo was taken at Liverpool Street station in London, but the girls’ identities remained a mystery for over 80 years. As of now.
Inge does not recall taking the picture and was unaware of its existence for decades.
With her sister Ruth, 10, she fled her home in Breslau, Germany, now Wroclaw, Poland.
Auschwitz had murdered their mother and younger sister who remained behind.
After she became a pensioner, Inge only realized she and Ruth, who died in 2015, had been immortalized as symbols of the Holocaust and Kindertransport, the mass evacuation of Jewish children from Nazi Germany during the Second World War.
The picture appeared in Martin Gilbert’s book Never Again.
Inge, whose maiden name was Adamecz, said, “That was a big surprise.”.
The author has just published the book ‘Three little girls’, so I wrote him and told him we are very much alive. People say I look like Shirley Temple. Why am I smiling?
There was a lot of emotion on Ruth’s face.
“I have no idea who the third girl with the doll is.”
Hanna Cohn, a 10-year-old German girl from Halle, arrived on the same train as the girls with her twin brother Hans, later called Gerald.
On the original glass plate of the picture, Hans’ trouser leg can just be seen.
She remembered the journey and the doll, but not the photo being taken, like Inge and Ruth.
While she died in 2018, she spoke to the University of London about her experiences.
She recalled the kind ladies who gave her sticky buns and lemonade when she was traveling through Holland.
Having arrived at Liverpool Street station on this train from Harwich, I was worried that we might be mistakenly in first class because the seats were upholstered, not wooden.
Also, I thought we were going to London, not Liverpool Street, so I was worried.
Then we arrived in this great hall. I was clutching a doll I called Evelyn.”