One night in March 1945, Judith arrived in Terezin by rail car after being separated from her stepfather. Wearing a yellow star marking her as Jewish, she was marched by the Gestapo into a dilapidated youth barracks with more than 30 other children. Not long afterward, sick with pneumonia and rheumatic fever, she was set to be deported to Auschwitz. As fate would have it, a family friend, who was also at the camp, hid her in the women’s quarters while she recovered, sacrificing her own food rations to save Judith from certain death.
Sarah still finds herself at a loss for words in trying to grasp the horrors of the Nazi genocide, which claimed the lives of six million European Jews and nearly five million others. “How can one communicate individual trauma, or in this case group trauma, on such an enormous scale?” she says. But she also honors Judith’s resilience, as well as the memory of other family members who died at Auschwitz, when working with patients facing uncertainty.
“My mother lived by two pillars — never forget and be open to understanding others’ trauma,” says Sarah. “So I’ve always asked myself, ‘How can I be of service to other people? How can I embrace people amid their deepest suffering?’”