Remembering Ettie Steinberg, Ireland’s Only Holocaust Victim

Auschwitz Concentration Camp

Dublin, Ireland – A memorial dedicated to the only Irish Holocaust victims documented to die in Auschwitz – Ettie Steinberg and her son Leon – was recently unveiled in Ireland’s capital city.

The said memorial was put up to permanently honor the country’s only victims of the Holocaust, the Irish Central reports.

Ettie Steinberg was born one of the seven children of Aaron Hirsh Steinberg and Bertha Roth in what was Czechoslovakia. Sometime in the 1920s, the family moved in to Ireland and settled in Dublin in a tiny house at 28 Raymond Terrace. Etties Steinberg and her siblings all went to St. Catherine’s School.

According to stories, Ettie Steinberg had worked as a seamstress shortly before she got married. Her sister, Fanny Frankel who is now in Toronto, recalled in an interview way back in 2008 how Ettie had such “golden hands” when it came to making clothes. She even kept and treasured a handmade suit her sister created for her.

Others who knew the family remembered Ettie Steinberg as a lovely, tall and slender lady with very creative hands. On July 22, 1937, Ettie Steinberg married Vogtjeck Gluck in the Greenville Hall Synagogue in Dublin. Shortly after their marriage, as related by author Conan Kennedy who recently wrote an article about Ireland’s only Holocaust victims, the couple moved to Antwerp, Belgium to be near Vogtjeck’s family business.

The dangers brewing for the Low Countries were not lost to Ettie Steinberg and her husband so after a year or so in Antwerp, they decided to relocate to France. It was in Paris that their son Leon was born on March 28, 1939.

The family moved from place to place eventually settling in the south of the country for two years. In 1942, the Ettie Steinberg and her family settled in a hotel in Toulouse.

By the time the young family were in Toulouse, the Vichy government – Nazi Germany’s collaborator in southern France – was doing round-ups of the Jews within the province. Ettie Steinberg along with her husband Vogtjeck Gluck and their son Leon were discovered and were arrested along with the others.

ettiesteinberg

Etties’s family who were in Dublin had succeeded in getting the arrested family visas that would have allowed them passage into northern Ireland. However, it arrived a day late in Toulouse. While on the journey following their arrest, Ettie Steinberg was able to slip a postcard addressed to her family in Ireland through the train’s window which bore them. In an extraordinary manner, an unknown passerby was able to spot it and mailed it. It was the last message Ettie was able to send to her loved ones.

Uncle Lechem, we did not find, but we found Uncle Tisha B’Av – read the postcard. To the common eyes, the message Ettie Steinberg sent may seem like she was talking about finding relatives in the journey. But her family understood that the cryptic message. Lechem in Hebrew meant ‘bread’ while Tisha B’Av was the day the Jews commemorate the destruction of the temple. It was Ettie’s way of saying that instead of finding good fortune, they had found destruction.

The Steinberg family tried to get in touch with their lost loved one and her family. They even wrote to the Vatican and the Red Cross in their desperation.

Freda Steinberg, the wife of the late Solomon Steinberg, Ettie’s brother, recalled in an interview way back in 2008 how they got hold of  the account of Ettie and her family’s arrest. According to her, both she and her husband were in a kosher restaurant in Prague in August 1947 when several survivors told them that they were with Ettie Steinberg and her family when they fled Antwerp and made their difficult way to southern France. While within the region, they had to move and sleep in different houses every night. A period of relative quiet came which made Ettie decide to just stay where they were. It was a wrong move as that night, she and her family got arrested.

The young family were then taken to Drancy which was a transit camp outside of Paris. So, Solomon went to Yad Vashem to check there was the surname Gluck in any of the records. Sure enough, there was. It was even detailed that a Gluck family was moved to Auschwitz along with the date of the move, the time the train left France, the train number and even in what carriage they were placed in. The documentation very thorough, true to the character of the Nazis who documented everything.

According to the said records, the Glucks (that was Ettie Steinberg, her husband Vogtjeck and son Leon) were deported from Drancy on Sepetember 2, 1942 at 8:55 AM and arrived in Auschwitz September 4. It was assumed that they were put to death immediately after their arrival.

Solomon, who was younger than his sister, graduated from Trinity College the same year Ettie Steinberg was killed in Auschwitz.

memorial

The monument is a permanent Holocaust memorial to honor Ireland’s only Holocaust victims and is located at a secondary school in Malahide, Co Dublin.

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