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Dr. Inge Auerbacher  

Holocaust Survivor, Chemist & Author

Inge Auerbacher was the last Jewish child born in Kippenheim, a village in South-Western Germany close to the borders of France and Switzerland. She was the only child of Berthold and Regina Auerbacher (nee’ Lauchheimer.) Both of her parents came from observant Jewish families who had lived for many generations in Germany.

Auerbacher was only three years old when massive riots against the Jewish community broke out across Germany and Austria from November 9-10, 1938, but her memories of Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) are still vivid. Her father, grandfather, and other Jewish men over the age of sixteen were sent to Dachau concentration camp; every window in their house was broken and they had to hide in their backyard shed to save themselves from the rioting mob; and their beloved synagogue was severely damaged. Miraculously, both men in Auerbacher’s family were released from Dachau after a few weeks, but they had both been treated very badly.

Auerbacher’s family sold their house and moved in with her grandparents in Jebenhausen in 1939, but the Holocaust was in full swing by the end of 1941. Her grandmother and other members of her family were sent to Riga in Latvia, where death by shooting awaited them; others were sent to Poland never to be heard of again. At 7 years old, Auerbacher and her parents were deported in August 1942 to the Terezin (Theresienstadt) concentration camp in Czechoslovakia.

Auerbacher’s life in Terezin was a nightmare. Death, fear, and hunger were her constant companions. She saw most of her friends sent to the gas chamber in Auschwitz, and she spent months in the so-called hospital with serious illnesses. After three long years, liberation came by the Soviet Army on May 8, 1945. Auerbacher was 10 years old at the time.

Miraculously, Auerbacher and both her parents survived. Marlene, her beloved doll, also made it through the terrible times. After a short stay in a Displaced Persons’ camp in Stuttgart, they returned to Jebenhausen. They learned that at least thirteen close relatives were slaughtered by the Nazis as well as many more of her extended family. Auerbacher and her parents immigrated to America in May 1946. She was stricken with a deadly disease caused by years of malnutrition in the concentration camp. She was hospitalized for two years and fought a valiant battle to regain her strength. Although she had lost many years of schooling, she graduated with honors from Bushwick High School in Brooklyn, New York after only three years in 1953. She completed a college degree (BS in Chemistry) in 1958 and continued with post-graduate work in Biochemistry. Auerbacher worked for over 38 years as a chemist with prominent scientists in research and clinical work.

Auerbacher’s hobby is writing. More than 50 of her poems and numerous articles have been published. She was silent about her war experiences until 1981, when she wrote the lyrics “We Shall Never Forget.” The music was written by her Christian friend, Rosalie Commentucci-O’Hara. This was the only original song presented at the first "World Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors" in Jerusalem in 1981. More of her lyrics have been set to music by James Donenfeld, Barney Bragin, and Cantor Sol Zim.

Auerbacher has been lecturing on the Holocaust since 1981 and has spoken to thousands of people in the USA, Canada, and Germany. She is fluent in German and English. Her audiences consist of school children, college students, and adults of any ethnic background. She has appeared on many radio and television programs both in the USA and abroad. Prize-winning documentary films have been made about her, which have been shown in the USA and all over the world.

Auerbacher is the author of the following best-selling and award-winning books: “I Am a Star: Child of the Holocaust,” which was the basis for the film “The Olympic Doll;” “Beyond the Yellow Star to America;” “Running Against the Wind;” and "Finding Dr. Schatz: The Discovery of Streptomycin and A Life It Saved.”

She has been awarded multiple prestigious awards for her work teaching tolerance and human rights, including the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and Louis E. Yavner Citizen Award in 1999, and the Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa from Long Island University in 2005. Her hometown, Kippenheim, has also instituted the Inge Auerbacher Prize awarded to students and institutions promoting tolerance and human rights. The award was given for the first time to Karl Kopp, Principal of the Kippenheim School and the Kippenheim School on July 4th, 2001.

Speech Topics


We are all God's children

Celebrating diversity and tolerance for other ethnic and racial groups.

Beating all odds

Overcoming prejudice, a deadly illness and rejection.

A child survivor

presentations with or without visual aides.

The Holocaust through the eyes of

Finding Dr. Schatz - The Discovery of Streptomycin and A Life It Saved

This is the story behind the discovery of the first antibiotic against tuberculosis.

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