MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Trudy Rappaport never thought she would survive 10 different World War II concentration camps from 1940 to 1944.
Her daughter, Linda Eisenzimmer, and son, Irvin, say their mother is very open about the devastation she witnessed during that time, including losing her sister who was murdered in Auschwitz.
“She’s a very strong woman, she survived four years of concentration camps in Germany, she is very strong,” Eisenzimmer said.
Rappaport’s last days in the concentration camps were spent in a barn crammed with hundreds of people, who were dying of typhus every day.
At the end of the war, Rappaport was hospitalized for seven weeks with typhoid fever, but she braved on.
“I think our family has been affected by her in the way that she has expressed emotions and talked about her experience so vividly,” Irvin said. “It shocked a lot of us, so I can imagine how hard it would have been to have gone through that.”
Rappaport met her husband at a displacement persons camp.
“My dad was a furrier,” Irvin said, “so he needed a cold climate to do his job, for some reason they just picked Minnesota.”
Their love soon brought Rappaport and her husband three children, four grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
Just a few weeks ago, many of them joined her in St. Louis Park to celebrate her 100th birthday. Her family was sure to make sure the milestone extra special.
Currently, Rappaport is featured in a photo exhibit at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis that focuses on Holocaust survivors in Minnesota.
The exhibit, titled Transfer of Memory, features 44 portraits, showcasing a total of 52 survivors. It runs through March 11 at the Basilica and will then move to Duluth’s Armory from March 11-18.
After that, the exhibit moves to Arden Hills.