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Laura Hillman was born Hannelore Wolff, the third of five children in a Jewish family in the small town of Aurich, Germany, near the North Sea. After the Nazi pogrom known as Kristallnacht in 1938, Laura and her siblings were forced to leave their schools. Laura was sent to a Jewish school in Berlin and never saw her parents Martin and Karoline Wolff again. They and her younger brother Wolfgang were deported and murdered in Nazi concentration camps. Her other brother died of malnutrition and sickness. Her two sisters Rosel and Hildegard survived the Holocaust by escaping to the UK and the British Mandate of Palestine. Laura was sent to four different concentration camps, including Auschwitz-Birkenau, but survived with the help of Oskar Schindler. At the Budzyn camp in Poland, she met Bernhard "Dick" Hillman, a Polish Jewish prisoner of war. They married in 1945 and emigrated to the USA two years later. They settled in Los Alamitos, California, and had a son. Laura worked in a sewing factory and as a supervisor for a chocolate store. She served as a docent at the Long Beach Museum of Art for 17 years and is a public speaker on the Holocaust. Her book I Will Plant You a Lilac Tree: A Memoir of a Schindler's List Survivor, was published in 2005.
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