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Ruth Elias, née Hupper, was born to a Jewish family in the Moravian region of Czechoslovakia. She was a talented young pianist and hoped to become a professional musician. In 1939, the Germans entered her country in the prelude to World War II. The foreman of her father's factory immediately seized it from him and the family lost their apartment. They went into hiding on a farm near Brno, but were caught and sent to Theresienstadt. She had previously married, and became pregnant in the summer of 1943. She and her husband were deported to Auschwitz in December 1943. She was sent to Hamburg to work cleaning the debris at a bombed oil refinery. When it was discovered that Ruth was pregnant, she was sent to Auschwitz. She managed to remove the yellow star from her clothing and pose as a Czech political prisoner. Once her baby girl was born, SS doctor Josef Mengele ordered that her breasts be bound to prevent her from breastfeeding, so he could conduct an experiment on how long a baby could live without food. She secretly fed the baby with bread soaked in water, but the child grew weaker. A prisoner-doctor gave her a needle filled with morphine and she injected the baby, who had no chance to survive. Mengele sent her on the next transport to forced labor near Leipzig. There she was eventually liberated by the Allies at the end of the war and returned to Czechoslovakia, where she discovered that none of her family had survived. She went into a deep depression and spent time in a sanatorium, but eventually regained the will to live. She remarried to Kurt Elias, also a survivor, and emigrated to Israel in 1949. Her book about her Holocaust experiences, Triumph of Hope: From Theresienstadt and Auschwitz to Israel, was published in 1988.
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