Who Do You Think You Are?
Comedian Ruby Wax makes some shocking discoveries about her family’s past…
When comedian Ruby Wax explored her family tree in Who Do You Think You Are?, she thought there might be theatricality or mental illness in her ancestors.
That’s because Ruby, who is now a campaigner for mental health, suffers from depression and suspected that her late mother, Berta, had mental health issues.
‘I thought there would be madness or an actress in my family, or both. I got one of them,’ she says.
Ruby discovered that her maternal great aunt,
Olga, and greatgrandmother, Bertha, had been in mental institutions.
‘It was a surprise to learn that everyone was in an insane asylum,’ says Ruby.
Ruby had a pretty unhappy childhood.
‘As a kid my mother would scream at me,’ she reveals.
Her parents were Jewish refugees who had escaped the Nazis by fleeing Austria. They settled near Chicago and had Ruby, but never spoke of their past.
Ruby has learned that her father was imprisoned by the Nazis, and that her mother’s relatives had died in a concentration camp. ‘Clearly they had had lives that were badly interrupted,’ says Ruby. ‘I just wish they’d told me something.’
In the family… Familiar traits run through Ruby’s ancestry Secret… Parents Berta and Edmund