Indefatigable Auschwitz survivor who escaped the gas chambers three times
AS A 17-year-old girl in 1942, Polish-born Minia Jay was separated from her family and sent to the Lodz ghetto. In 1944, Minia was taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau where she miraculously escaped death at the hands of Dr Mengele who ordered three times that she be sent to the gas chambers.
An absolute fighter, she survived the journey to Oederan-Chemnitz in East Germany while battling tuberculosis before ending up in the Terezin transit camp, where she was liberated on May 8,1945.
Minia, who has died aged 91, was taken to Lake Windermere on one of the Lancaster bombers along with 300 children, one of The Boys, as immortalised in Martin Gilbert’s eponymous book.
After the Holocaust, Minia married Kurt Wassing and raised her children Denise and Michael, missing the love and support of her mother, of whom she dreamt every night. She and Kurt divorced. He remarried and passed away in Canada many years ago.
Minia’s children brought her much joy and pride. The family moved to Milan and spent 10 years there before eventually Minia returned to London.
She married her second husband Peter Jay in 1976 and enjoyed many happy years together with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Highly sophisticated and cultured, a great Zionist and always a fighter and survivor, she was the glue that has bound our family together, the inspiration which drives us all. We will always love and remember her.
She is survived by Denise Kienwald, her daughter from her first marriage, six grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. Her son Michael Wassing, predeceased her six years ago.
Minia Jay: born May 1, 1925 Died December 8, 2017