Lovers in Auschwitz, Reunited 72 Years Later. He Had One Question…

In 2016, Mr. Wisnia decided to make an attempt to reconnect with Zippi. He had shared the story with his family. The story was quickly passed on and so they came in contact with relatives of Zippi. Wisnia was relieved when he heard she was alive! However, she was no longer in good health and it was questionable whether she would recognize Wisnia. In consultation with the family, they decided to make an appointment to visit in August 2016. Mr. Wisnia took two of his grandchildren to the reunion with Mrs. Tichauer (Zippi). He was very quiet during the car ride because he did not know what to expect. It was 72 years since he last saw his former girlfriend. He had heard that she was in poor health, but knew very little about her life. All those years he had one question for her and he wanted to ask that now.

When Mr. Wisnia and his grandchildren arrived in her apartment, they found Mrs. Tichauer in a hospital bed. She was alone since her husband died in 1996, and they had never had children. Over the years she had become blind and deaf due to old age, so she was bound to bed. She had a nurse who took care of her and the telephone was her only connection with the rest of the world.

At first she did not recognize him. Then Mr. Wisnia leaned forward. “Her eyes widened, almost as if she were coming back to life,” said Mr. Wisnia’s grandson, Avi Wisnia, 37. “It amazed us all.” Suddenly there was a stream of words between Mr. Wisnia and Mrs. Tichauer, all in their adopted English language. “She said,” Did you tell your wife what we did? Mr. Wisnia began to chuckle and shook his head. Wisnia spoke about his children and his time in the US Army. Mrs. Tichauer spoke about her humanitarian work after the war and her husband. “My God,” she said. “I never thought we would see each other again – and in New York.” The reunion lasted about two hours. Eventually he had to ask the question he always wanted to ask her: she had anything to do with the fact that he could have survived all this time in Auschwitz? She raised her hand to show five fingers. Her voice was loud, her Slovak accent deep. “I saved you five times from death, ” she said.