It was a match made completely in hell. The hell was a Nazi concentration camp called Czestochowa. Both of them had virtually grown up in concentration camps. The first time he saw her was in a concentration camp. He was a skeleton of a man, not really interested in women. But he saw her eyes, and they were smiling. It was love at first sight. He went up to her and they talked. Before going back to his barracks, he kissed her on the cheek.
This is the story of Sigi and Hanaka Siegreich. Hanaka recalled her first kiss and cupped her cheek. It was the same way she had cupped her cheek when Sigi had kissed her for the first time. This happened New Year’s Eve 1944, 18 days before the camp was liberated by the Red Army.
The people in the camp were terrible. Living in a harsh concentration camp had left them as inhumane and brash. Sigi was gentle. Hanaka recalls him to be a kind person in those difficult days.
This is not one of those love stories were guy meets girl and eternal love happens. Sigi was a worker in a Nazi munitions factory. He intentionally sabotaged the factory line, and made bullets that were too small for the german guns. Soon he received word that the Gestapo were looking for him and hid. Only Hanaka knew he was hiding in the nearby abandoned construction site.
Hanaka also braved the situation. She smuggled him bread and a hand knitted blanket to keep warm in -15 degrees temperatures. She visited him every night.
One night she visited him again. She walked up to him with arms wide open and told him that they had been freed. They got married the next day. The year after she gave birthj to her first of two daughters, Evelyn.
Sigi and Hanaka soon moved to Australia looking for a better life.Image Credit: Shutterstock
Today, Sigi is 93 and Hanaka is 91. They have been happily married for 71 years. They have big family consisting of grandchildren and great grandchildren. The couple already have their gravestones prepared with a befitting inscription.
“We are inviting the souls of our exterminated family to rest in our grave.”
This story tells us a lot about life and love. But the lesson we need to take from this story is that the relationships formed in the hardest of times can last forever.