TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — The Dimensions in Testimony Theater at CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center will share Holocaust survivor Rennée Firestone’s story on Saturday.
Firestone was born in 1924 in Užhorod, Czechoslovakia. Although her family was Jewish, they were a non-religious household. After the Hungarian occupation, she and her family began experiencing anti-Semitic discrimination and violence. She was forced to leave her school to join a segregated, Jewish-only athletic organization while her brother was imprisoned in a forced labor camp and her father lost his business.
After being detained in the Užhorod ghetto, Rennée and her family were deported to Auschwitz in 1944. Rennée’s mother and younger sister were murdered in the camp. After being imprisoned for 13 months, Rennée was forced to go on a death march to Liebau concentration camp in Germany where she was then liberated by the Soviet Army in May of 1945. She was able to reunite with her brother in Prague and find her father in Theresienstadt. However, her father was in poor health and died of tuberculosis.
She emigrated to the United States in 1948 with her husband and fellow Holocaust survivor Bernard Firestone, and their infant daughter. Firestone worked in fashion design in Los Angeles for several decades without ever sharing her story of survival. However, after a Jewish cemetery and synagogue were vandalized with swastikas, she decided to share her testimony.
CANDLES, at 1532 S 3rd St., is open Friday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.