Minia Jay

In­de­fati­ga­ble Auschwitz survivor who es­caped the gas cham­bers three times

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE - SHARON WAKE­FIELD

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

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