Holocaust Survivor Inspiring East Texas Women Battling Cancer - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/10/06-Tyler

Holocaust Survivor Inspiring East Texas Women Battling Cancer

Dr. Edith Eger was just 16 years old when she and her family were sent to Auschwitz, a Nazi concentration camp in 1944. Her father was killed in the gas chamber. She recalls when her mother was given the same death sentence by Dr. Josef Mengele, also known as the "Angel of Death." "If he pointed [to the left] you went to the gas chamber. If he pointed [to the right] you were chosen for life. And my mother was chosen to go to the left," says Dr. Eger. "I asked my roommate when will I see my mother again. Then she pointed at the chimney. Fire was coming out of the chimney and she said you better talk about your mother in the past tense. She's burning there." American forces helped free Dr. Eger from the camp in 1945. She would make her way to the United States, get a college degree and become a clinical psychologist. But Dr. Eger never fleed from the memories of Auschwitz. "I was realizing that I had my secret and that I didn't tell anyone I was in Auschwitz and the secret had me. I was sitting there in a white coat it said 'Dr. Eger, Clinical Psychologist.' And there was a little girl in me scared that I was taking people further than I have gone myself. So I decided to revisit Auschwitz." It was a second life-changing experience for the Hungarian native who now shares her story around the country. Today these women are learning not to be a victim but to fight cancer until they find a cure. "You pick an arrow and then you follow that arrow from darkness to light. Because the biggest concentration camp is in your own mind."

Dr. Eger says she did suffer from "survivors guilt." One thing she says helped her overcome her past was realizing that the Nazi's and Hitler were also children of God, not monsters.

Christine Nelson reporting. cnelson@kltv.com

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