Obituary: Ibi, Holocaust survivor – and a special mum

IBI and Val Ginsburg appeared like any normal, elderly couple living out their final years.

But they had a horrific story to tell, which they shared with hundreds of Calderdale schoolchildren.

Mr and Mrs Ginsburg, of Elland, were survivors of the Holocaust in World War Two.

Many of their family members were killed and the couple were keen to ensure future generations did not forget the terror of the Nazi regime.

Now part of that living link with history has been broken following the death of 85-year-old Mrs Ginsburg. She leaves her husband, aged 87, in frail health.

In 1944, aged 19, she was transferred from her Hungarian homeland to to the notorious death camp at Auschwitz. Her mother and two youngest sisters were gassed immediately.

Mrs Ginsburg was put to work with her other 13-year-old sister and half-starved.

Eventually, she was taken to the Dachau camp where Val, originally from Lithuania, was barely alive as he endured slave labour and starvation.

In 1945 as Allied liberators closed in the couple were moved by the Nazis on one of the infamous death marches but their lives were saved when the Americans liberated the marching columns one by one.

Mr Ginsburg needed hospital treatment and when his future wife started working at the hospital, their relationship blossomed.

They married in Germany and moved to Elland in 1945 to work in the mills.

Mrs Ginsburg later told the Courier: "There was a long silence after what happened. No one spoke of it. Among the Jews it was a silence for 35 years.

"But you have to say what happened."

Mr Ginsburg wrote down his experience and the couple began giving talks in 1992.

The couple's eldest daughter, Pauline Gardner, 60, of Halifax, said she had lost a special mum.

"She had loads of energy and worked really hard looking after us all," she said.

"Dad was not well for a long time and having lost the family she did, her remaining family were very precious to her. It was unbelievable what she suffered, which made her stronger in a lot of ways."

Mrs Gardner said her parents' accounts of life at the hands of the Nazis really touched children and many wrote them letters thanking them.

Mrs Ginsburg also leaves another daughter, Mandy, 52, of Leeds, and three grandchildren.

Her funeral was held at Park Wood Crematorium, Elland.