On Thursday, March 29, Holocaust survivor Ingrid Hess, who is also the great-grandmother of Jenna Crain ’23, visited GFS to share her experience with the 7th Grade. The students gathered in the Middle School auditorium to hear from Mrs. Hess who was sent with her family to live in a concentration camp at the age of 14.
Mrs. Hess, known to her family and close friends as “Omi” (German for Grandmother) was born in Germany in a little village known as “Oberaspher.” Her family was one of only a few Jewish families living in her village. Under Nazi rule, Omi, her mother and father, and two brothers were taken away from their home and sent to a concentration camp (her sister was fortunate to have left for America before the start of the war). Omi was only 14 years old at the time.
Omi was placed in three different concentration camps within a three year period and was separated from her family not knowing whether they were alive or dead. When the war ended in 1945, the Red Cross reunited Omi and her parents, as well as one brother. Unfortunately, her other brother was killed while in the concentration camp.
After the war, the Hess family returned to their village and found that their house had been destroyed by the Nazis; but were taken in and supported by their non-Jewish neighbors.
The 7th Grade students, who read The Diary of Anne Frank this year and have learned about the Holocaust in English class, were so appreciative to hear from Omi, who will be 91 in July. The GFS community is so thankful for her incredible courage and willingness to share her story of survival and to allow the girls to hear a first-hand account of the history they are learning about in school.