Whenever asked, Helga Wolffs would say she never figured out how she managed to survive the horrors of the Holocaust. Born in Prague in May 1921, she saw her life change abruptly after the Germans invaded Czechoslovakia in 1938. Soon thereafter, life became a constant struggle for survival—first in Terezin and Auschwitz, where she worked as a nurse; then in Hamburg and Neugraben, where she did slave labor clearing rubble; and finally in Bergen-Belsen, where she was liberated by the British.
After that, Helga worked as a secretary for the British Military Government, at times personally observing her previous tormentors at war crimes trials. “I felt no satisfaction in seeing them imprisoned,” she said in her recorded oral testimony, “Only contempt.”
Her parents were murdered in Auschwitz, and her sister survived and returned to Prague. Helga immigrated to America, where she later met and married her husband.
“Life is very important to me,” she said, explaining why she became a nurse. “I wanted to help people—I still do.” She felt that decency and togetherness, not every person for himself, is what is important. This may explain her extraordinary gift of nearly $400,000 to the Museum through a bequest in her will. Helga’s legacy will enable us to impart the vital lessons of the Holocaust to future generations.
Unfortunately, we were unaware that Helga had included the Museum in her estate plans until she had passed away. We wish we could have thanked her in person. If you have included the Museum in your estate plans, please let us know. By informing us of your intentions, we can celebrate your commitment by including you in our Legacy of Light Society today.