United Kingdom / Biography
Evelyn Lipmann survived four concentration camps and was finally freed from Salzwedel camp in April 1945. In 1947, she settled in Walton-on-Thames in England, only recently fully recounting her time in the camps and the Allied liberation.
Evelyn Lipmann is just one of the remarkable Holocaust survivors who relocated to England after the liberation of thousands of Jews from the Nazi concentration camps. Evelyn grew up in Vienna prior to the outbreak of war. The limitations imposed upon Jewish people after the annexation of Austria in 1938 meant that her childhood and education were cut short. Despite this, she enjoyed going to art classes for which she would secretly remove her yellow badge, in order to attend unchecked. By 1940, Evelyn and her family experienced even greater anti-Semitic treatment. They were forced to make German Nazi uniforms for hours each day and were effectively under house arrest.
Her family was initially relocated to Terezín in 1943, then eventually moved to Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen and Salzwedel camps. Upon arriving at Auschwitz, the family members were separated. Their clothes were taken and burnt, and she was tattooed with a number. Her mother lied about her age, hoping to be selected to work and stand a better chance of surviving. It meant that both she and Evelyn survived the war, a rare occurrence given the Nazi preference for sparing only the young and fit. Little is known of what happened to her father, except that he did not survive the ordeal. When inspected and given the option of remaining at Bergen-Belsen or moving to the labour camp Salzwedel, they chose the latter. Here, they were used as slaves, making ammunition. Evelyn and her mother survived for eighteen months in the camps before being freed by the US 9th army in April 1945. Afterwards, Evelyn remained in the area whilst she recovered from typhoid developed in the camp. Before beginning the journey back to Vienna, she was given a page from a children’s atlas to help her finish her journey, most of which completed on foot. It took longer than expected, however, as many areas were impassable due to Russian control. In October 1945, she arrived at a Jewish resettlement area in Vienna.
Evelyn managed to learn some English in Vienna, which earned her a job with the US occupation forces, preparing her for relocation to England. She joined relatives already resident in Walton-on-Thames and quickly met her husband before starting a family. She has lived there to this day and has worked in conjunction with the Holocaust Educational Trust and the Association of Jewish Refugees to share her story.