Photos of Auschwitz Survivor Elsbeth Midas with First and Second Husbands
Elsbeth was the youngest of the three daughters of Sophie and Lothar Midas. In 1943, she and her first husband Robert Gerst were captured while in hiding by the Nazis when in Amerongen, Holland. Rumors exist that they worked with the resistance. They were arrested and confined in Scheveningen* , a police prison in Holland. Later, as an Auschwitz prisoner, she was forced to participate in the medical experiments performed in Auschwitz Medical Block 10. For details on medical experiments in this setting, click HERE for quotation from the book, “The Nazi Doctors” by Dr. Robert Jay Lifton.
After the war, she returned to her family who had immigrated to New York City. She married her second husband, Harry Weilheimer and their life together was blessed with happiness until her passing in 1994.
Elsbeth remains in our minds as a tremendous example of what hope looks like before, during and after personally experiencing and witnessing the Nazis in action.
Click HERE for details on Scheveningen Prison.(also known as Oranjehotel).
Below is a detailed chart showing the extraordinarily difficult journey Elsbeth and her first husband Robert were forced to make:
Elsbeth with her first husband Robert
(Robert and Elsbeth’s engagement announcement, May 17, 1938 in Amsterdam)
(From Robert and Elsbeth’s wedding announcement, June 1, 1938 in Amsterdam)
Uncle Robert Gerst – First husband of Aunt Elsbeth Midas
Born in Nüremberg on November 29, 1910
Died in Auschwitz on October 5, 1943
Captured in Amsterdam, when in hiding with Elsbeth
and transported to Auschwitz. She survived, he did not.
“In July 1943, after the Gersts had spent 3 years living under harsh Nazi occupation, eight Gestapo men stormed their hiding place and Elsbet’s excruciating odyssey began.”
Excerpt from Buried by The Times: The Holocaust and America’s Most Important Newspaper (Cambridge University Press, 2005
Robert Gerst’s name appears in the Dutch “Digital Monument to the Jewish Community.” The Digital Monument to the Jewish Community in the Netherlands is an Internet monument dedicated to preserving the memory of all the men, women and children who were persecuted as Jews during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands and did not survive the Shoah. Every person in the Monument has a separate page commemorating his or her life. (To read more about the Digital Monument click HERE.)
To read Harriet’s poem in Robert’s memory click HERE
Below is a newspaper advertisement placed by Bill’s Aunt Hilde searching for her sister and brother-in-law, Elsbeth and Robert Gerst.
Apartment house at Watteaustraat 4 (3 miles from the Anne Frank House) in Amsterdam, Holland where Aunt Elsbeth and Uncle Robert lived. After their capture they were deported to Auschwitz, where they were separated. When the war ended and Elsbeth was liberated from Auschwitz, she found out Robert had been murdered by the Nazis, shortly after entering the camp. When the young married couple were captured Elsbeth was 27 and Robert was 32. To read Elsbeth’s disturbing first hand report on her capture, CLICK HERE to the page in the book, Buried by The Times.
Note, Anne Frank and her family were in hiding from July 1942 until August 1944 when the family was arrested. Elsbeth and Robert were in hiding for three years prior to their arrest in August 1943. Thus, their times in hiding were somewhat similar. Neither ever could have dreamed of being mentioned together on a “BLOG,” such as ours, in the year 2012.
After Auschwitz – A New Life
For additional World War II related info click HERE
To access poetry related to World War II by Harriet Mohr click HERE
Harry A family picnic. Elsbeth on far left
……………………………………… ….Harry in foreground.