Holocaust Survivor’s Story at National Army Museum

The universal appeal of the story of Anne Frank and the quality of the travelling exhibition that has visited the National Army Museum has reminded us all of the atrocities suffered by millions at the hands of the Nazis. Few European Jews survived the Holocaust but of those who did is the story of Clare Galambos-Winter.

Clare Galambos-Winter's prisoner smock

Clare Galambos-Winter’s prisoner smock

Clare grew up in Hungary and was an accomplished violinist. At the age of 16 when the Nazis invaded Hungary her life changed forever. Clare was transported by train in a cattle truck and was imprisoned at Auschwitz. Half the people died during this journey.

From Auschwitz, Clare was selected for slave labour at a munitions factory and issued with this smock. The number on the smock is Clare’s prisoner number. Prisoner’s were referred to by their numbers not their names.

Clare was liberated while being forcibly marched towards Bergen-Belsen and after the war returned home to find her house had been destroyed and her immediate family all dead. Clare had distant relatives in New Zealand who stood as guarantors for her and so she left a devastated Europe.

Clare was a violinist in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra for 33 years when she retired in 1983.

The National Army Museum wishes to thank the Wellington Holocaust Research and Education Centre (Interpretation Centre) for enabling us to tell Clare’s story and for the loan of her smock pictured here.