Six years ago, on May 10, 2005, Sabina Van Der Linden-Wolanski gave a speech as survivor of the Holocaust and guest of honour at the opening ceremony of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin. In her unforgettable presentation, she referred to herself as »the voice of six million Jews who were mistreated and murdered, and the voice of those few who got away«. Sabina Van Der Linden-Wolanski passed away this morning in Sydney, surrounded by family members. She was 84 years old.
Within her family, Sabina Van Der Linden-Wolanski (born 1927) was the sole survivor of the German atrocities of Eastern Poland. After the end of the war, she emigrated to Australia in 1950 – passing through Silesia and Paris. Her family’s fate (Haberman) is part of the exhibition at the Information Centre of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Last year, in May 2010, Sabina Van Der Linden-Wolanski returned to Berlin for the fifth anniversary of the Memorial in order to present the German translation of her memoir »Destined to Live« (»Drang nach Leben«). Her autobiography is infused with her assertiveness and the struggle of a young adult facing violence and murder, and finally her strength to begin anew, as a wife, a mother, and an entrepreneur in Sidney.
When Sabina Van Der Linden-Wolanski came to Germany, in May 2010, she met, for the first time, Berthold Beitz, former chief representative of the Krupp enterprise. It was a moving encounter and the late opportunity to share memories of their time together during the war. Beitz had saved several hundred people from certain death at the German extermination camps in occupied Poland. Thanks to him, the 15-year-old Sabina obtained a certificate of employment that protected her for a while.
Only two weeks ago, Sabina Van Der Linden-Wolanski celebrated her 84th birthday. Shortly before that, the Australian TV station ABC broadcasted an extensive documentary film which featured Sabina Van Der Linden-Wolanski talking about her life experiences. Sabina Van Der Linden-Wolanski contributed to a great extent to the historical commemorative practices of both Australia and Germany.