Location: Auschwitz Concentration Camp • Auschwitz II - Birkenau Concentration Camp • Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp • Germany • Lodz • Missouri • Poland • St. Louis • United States of America • Vinnhorst Displaced Persons Camp
Experience During Holocaust: Family Died During the Holocaust • Family Died in Concentration Camp • Family Died in Ghetto • Liberated • Lived in a Displaced Persons camp • Lived in Lodz Ghetto • Lived in Multiple Concentration Camps • Sent to Concentration Camp • Sent to Ghetto • Worked in Factory
Mary Lou Ruhe, née Lewy, was born in and raised in the city of Lodz, Poland. Her father was a Latin professor. During World War II, she lived in the Lodz Ghetto. She was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau at which time she was separated from her father, who was taken to Dachau where he died in 1944. She was later transported to the transit camp in Bergen-Belsen near the barracks where Anne Frank died. She spent the rest of the war in a labor camp near Salzwedel, Germany, making bullets for German guns.
Mary Lou was liberated by American troops April 14, 1945. She lived in a displaced persons camp in Vinnhorst, Germany, where she met her future husband, Stefan Ruhe. They immigrated to the United States and settled in St. Louis. Stefan opened a dental laboratory and Mary Lou worked in an office in downtown St. Louis before raising a family of two daughters. Mary Lou Ruhe was an active docent at the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center for many years.
Mary Lou Ruhe passed away September 24, 2008 in her 87th year.
Mapping Mary Lou's Life
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In some cases the dates below were estimated based on the oral histories.
“Street by street, house by house, were emptied of people. We were taken to the railroad station, we could take with us a knapsack, some food if we had any, we were loaded onto cattle cars - very crowded - and we set on our odyssey, our journey.”
- Mary Lou Ruhe