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

Edith Eva Eger at 16. By the next year, she would be in a concentration camp.
Edith Eva Eger at 16. By the next year, she would be in a concentration camp.

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.

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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 info@jewishRSF.com.

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