‘Ballerina of Auschwitz’ to speak at Rancho Santa Fe event


Meet Edith Eva Eger, the “Ballerina of Auschwitz,” and hear her inspirational story firsthand at a July 14 event to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II.

A black-and-white photo shows the 16-year-old ballerina at her prime, mere months before her world would be destroyed.

She is dressed in a bathing suit, smiling while performing a gymnastic split. Eger says the portrait was taken by her first teenage crush: a Jewish boy named Imre. He, like so many others, would not survive the Holocaust.

“I had my 17th birthday in Auschwitz,” Eger said.

Seventy years later, Eger appears frail at first glance, until she astounds a new acquaintance by performing a dance kick that goes shoulder-high.

The 87-year-old said her fondest childhood memories still revolve around dancing and training to compete for the Hungarian Olympic team as a gymnast.

“But then I was told that I had to train somewhere else because I’m Jewish, and I do not qualify (for the Olympics),” Eger recalled. “My dream was totally shattered.”

Eger’s appearance will be at a private RSF estate. For information and to reserve, call Chabad Jewish Center of Rancho Santa Fe at 858-756-7571 or