in Krimml, I was able to visit the place with her, her husband and the city's historian. That visit allowed me to see how my parents lived there. The people in the camp lived a very rich life, they created a theatre, wrote and edited newspapers and played a lot of music. They had schools for the children and classes for professional education, such as carpenters, nurses and teachers to prepare them for their future life in the Land of Israel. The DP camp, along with other DP camps, had a baby boom – many of the survivors started new families and by that they declared their personal and national victory over the Nazis. The camp was run by the American army and the JDC (Jewish Distribution Committee) was responsible for the everyday life of the camp. The city archives confirmed that my parents were registered in the camp and received food stamps until May 1947. Together with their friends, the group left the camp with the Bricha. My mother recounted that along the way they were occasionally accompanied by people who filmed and documented them. Today I know that it was the producer Meir Levin and his staff who created the movie The Illegals.
was too much snow to take this route. After the registration in Milan, we were sent south to a DP camp very close to Bari. There my mother was reunited with her only sister Cila, whom their parents had managed to smuggle to a youth camp in the Soviet Union before the beginning of the war in order to protect her from the Nazis. The two sisters were overjoyed to finally meet again. Both women were now married and had a child of exactly the same age. Last part of the journey After a long wait of about two and a half months, the two families and a group of people boarded the ship The Unafraid. Meir Levin continued to film throughout the entire cruise that lasted two weeks. In December, it arrived in Haifa where it was captured by British Military. From there, all the ship's people were transferred to the detention camps in Cyprus. There we lived in tents in Camp 65. Life in the camp in the middle of winter was difficult – several families lived in one big tent, there was no privacy, no proper place to cook or live a normal life. The camps were surrounded by barbed wire fences, which reminded the survivors of the concentration camps. After a few months in the camps, many babies got sick and the young families were permitted to sail back to Haifa.
They crossed the snow-covered Krimmler Tauern carrying me, the baby.
The people in the group wandered together from place to place, passing Vienna, from where they continued with the Bricha. From the stories I heard and from what I have seen in the film, the difficult roads did not undermine the desire to continue and to arrive at the Land of Israel. Crossing the Krimmler Tauern One night they came close to the Krimml Waterfalls and from there, their march began. They had little baggage on their back and no proper clothes to cross the Alps. They also carried me, the baby. They walked all night to rest at family Geisler’s Krimmler Tauernhaus. My mother told me how hard it was for her to walk especially in the snow. It reminded her of the Death March. This is my family story in the Krimml Pass. In the documents I discovered that we arrived in Italy on 30th August,1947. This is the final confirmation that we passed Krimml because the survivors could cross the Krimmler Tauern only in the spring and summer months. In winter, there
Life in Israel My parents went on to build a new life with their friends with whom they often talked about their past in the concentration camps and the ghetto. They remained a close group of friends. Over the years, everyone passed away. As a child and a young woman, I studied, was active in the Scouts and served in the army. I continued my studies and became an elementary school teacher. Later, I became headmistress. I married Gershon, who survived the Terezin Camp as a one-year-old baby with his mother. He was an officer in the army. We have two lovely children. We were sent by the Jewish Agency to work with the Jewish Community in Switzerland, Zurich and we had the privilege of being among the first to build a new township in Israel, Kochav Yair, where we live to this very day.
Hanna Weiss is actively involved in remembrance work and edited two books which are a collection of 140 memoires told by sons and daughters of Holocaust survivors who were in detention camps in Cyprus from 1946 to 1949.