‘Bride of Belsen’ who survived four death camps dies aged 95
At one stage she survived the gas chambers, when the mechanism broke and she later said this narrow escape convinced her she had a duty to bear witness to the Holocaust by speaking to schoolchildren about it.
In 1987, Mrs Turgel published her story in a book titled I light a candle and her wedding dress, which was made from a British Army parachute, is on display at London’s Imperial War Museum.
To the end Mrs Turgel was determined that no one should forget what had been inflicted on Europe’s Jews and other persecuted minorities in the name of ideology.
In April, at Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day event in London, she urged guests: “I beg you – don’t forget those who are less fortunate than yourselves”.
Jonathan Sacks, a former chief rabbi, said she was “one of the most remarkable Holocaust survivors I had the privilege to know”.
He added: “She was a blessing and inspiration to our community. Her work to educate generations about the horrors of the Holocaust was as powerful as it was tireless. Throughout her life, she lit countless candles in the human heart and helped bring much light to the world.”
Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “The Gena Turgel we knew was the most beautiful, elegant and poised lady.