NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Many of the survivors of the Holocaust have lasting memories they wish they could forget.
One survivor may have no recollection, but new proof verifies her presence.
Stella Fertig always had written verification she survived the Holocaust — a distribution card for her father — but she has no memory of her experience.
“Everybody tells me, ‘You’re better off not remembering,’ and I don’t know if I’m better off,” she said.
“Because?” CBS2’s Steve Overmyer asked.
“Because it’s more real. It’s like a story that’s been told to me my whole life and I don’t remember,” Fertig said.
Researchers in Holland recently restored film to the point they could make out the names on the bags. It led to positive identification of three children waving through a window en route to a concentration camp.
One of them was Fertig.
“They question me, like, ‘But you were so little. How could they?’ I said I had Jewish blood. That was good enough for the Nazis. That’s it, get rid of them,'” Fertig said.
She, her brother and cousin were separated from their parents. Fertig’s mother worked in a camp while Fertig was one of 46 Dutch Jewish children left to die.
“We were dumped in a field there because ‘you are not important,'” Fertig said.
A prisoner named Luba made it her mission to keep the children fed and alive, and she did. Forty-four survived, including Fertig, who’s now a grandmother living in Queens.
“Oh, it is home. I’ve lived here longer than I lived in Holland, and yet I still speak with an accent. I can’t get rid of it,” Fertig said, laughing.
Old images show a life she doesn’t remember. For the past 77 years, Fertig has made a new life while remaining devoted to her history and outlasting her captors.
“Here I am sitting here talking to you, and they didn’t want that, the Nazis,” she said.
“You feel victorious?” Overmyer asked.
“Absolutely. I have the pleasure of seeing my children grow up and become happy adults. And I see now my grandchildren. And I’m eating it up. It’s wonderful,” Fertig said.
She and her brother were both liberated and reunited with their mother after nearly two years in the camp. She saidher mother lived a long and happy life, and her brother still lives in Holland.