Having survived one of the deadliest genocides in history, it’s no wonder resident Regina Samelson looks at life as a blessing.
Born May 16th, 1922, Regina recently celebrated her 95 birthday. She was born in Lodz, Poland, and was one of 7 children. When WWII broke out she and one sister went to Plotrokow while the rest of her family (minus one brother) were sent to Treblinka in 1942. Unfortunately, she never saw her siblings again. She and her sister worked in a factory until 1944 and then were sent to Ravesbruck concentration camp. Life was hard; little food to no food and hard work while sickness, starvation and death surrounded them. Eventually they were sent to Bergen-Belsen where Regina suffered from Typhus fever. Fortunately on April, 15th 1945 they were liberated by the British Army.
Through the help of some medical students, she and her sister were able to get in contact with her brother in Brussels, Belgium. Soon they received visas and were able to reunite after 10 long years. They lived in Belgium for three years, traveling to Germany where Regina met her husband. She and her husband moved to Israel where they welcomed their first child, a son. Eight years later they moved once again, this time to the United States. They lived in Chicago from 1956 to 2012 and added a daughter to their loving family.
After Regina’s husband passed, she moved into The Fountains at Millbrook in 2012. She enjoys the gift of nature; walking the many paths scattered across the community’s grounds. She also enjoys reading, writing and visits from her children. She says the Holocaust is something she will never forget, even after more than 70 years. Yet in spite of these tragic experiences, she chooses to live life to its fullest.
Regina was interviewed and featured in an article by TriCorner News, published on May 17th, 2017.
Photo Credit: Judith O’Hara Balfe