The world commemorated the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the largest extermination center of the regime of Adolf Hitler. This paid tribute to the more than 1.1 million victims, mostly Jews.
This Monday’s commemoration was led by Polish President Andrzej Duda and the head of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald Lauder.
The survivors of the Auschwitz death camp attended the event supported by their children and grandchildren, walked through the place where they suffered hunger, disease and almost death. They were there to remember, to share their stories with the new generations and to challenge what the destruction represents.
One of the voices that survived the horror of this extermination and that went out in 2007 was that of Trude Sojka, who took refuge in Ecuador at the end of World War II. She found a new life opportunity in the country, where she stood out as a painter and sculptor.
Sojka was born in Berlin on December 9, 1909, in a Jewish family, the daughter of Czech parents. He married a Slovak public official and moved to Nitra, in former Czechoslovakia, which today is divided into two states, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
With the arrival of the regime of Adolf Hitler to Germany, the family of Sojka was threatened. In 1942 his mother, his sister, her husband and son were murdered. Trude and her husband remained hidden for two years, but in 1944 they were transferred to the Sered camp near Nitra and then to Auschwitz.
She, who was pregnant, did not see her husband again, but it is feared that she died in the so-called “Death March”, in which thousands of prisoners were forced to walk and those who could not continue were shot.
“We don’t know exactly what happened, she didn’t tell everything because it caused her pain, she suffered a lot,” her granddaughter Gabriela Fonseca, based in Quito , tells El Telegrafo .
Sojka remained only one month in Auschwitz and from there she was transferred to other Nazi concentration camps. The last one was that of Zittwerke-Kleinshönau, where on May 4, 1945 his daughter Gabriele was born, who only lived three weeks.
Nazi Germany installed thousands of concentration camps, with its six main extermination centers in Poland: Auschwitz-Birkenau, Majdanek, Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec and Chelmno , but that of Auschwitz , was an example of the torture and suffering of Holocaust victims.
After the liberation of all Nazi concentration camps, which began on January 27, 1945, the prisoners continued to suffer, were traumatized, many committed suicide, Fonseca says .
Sojka was released on May 11, 1945. It was then that she contacted her older brother Waltre , who was already based in Guayaquil.
He arrived in the country in July 1946, one year after the war. He married another Holocaust survivor, Hans Steinitz, a Jewish lawyer with whom he had three children. They moved to Quito.
In the capital Sojka gave free rein to his art as a therapy to relieve his pain, through his paintings and sculptures he expressed messages of peace.
In his tribute his daughter Ana Steinitz created in 2009 the Trude Sojka Cultural House , two years after his death, to promote his work and raise awareness of this Jewish genocide, to connect Ecuador with this stage of history through art, Fonseca highlights.