Olga Lengyel

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Olga Lengyel
Born 1908
Transylvania, Hungary
Died 2001 (aged 93)
Occupation Author

Olga Lengyel (October 19, 1908–April 15, 2001) was a Hungarian woman who became a prisoner at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, and later wrote about her experiences in her book Five Chimneys.

Life and career[edit]

Olga Lengyel was a trained surgical assistant in Kolozsvár, Hungary, working in the hospital where her husband, Dr. Miklos Lengyel, was director. In the spring of 1944, she was deported with her husband, parents and children to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp; she was the only member of her family to survive. She wrote about her experiences in her autobiography, Five Chimneys: A Woman's True Story of Auschwitz, first published in 1947 as I Survived Hitler's Ovens.[1] These kinds of experiences made her a strong and independent woman. Her children died in the gas chamber. "I cannot acquit myself of the charge that I am, in part, responsible for the destruction of my own parents and of my two young sons. The world understands that I could not have known, but in my heart the terrible feeling persists that I could have, I might have, saved them." Chap. I, p. 11

After the war, Lengyel emigrated to the United States where she founded the Memorial Library chartered by the University of the State of New York. She died in 2001 at the age of 93, after surviving three bouts of cancer.

In 2006, the Memorial Library began the Holocaust Educator Network, a national program for teachers committed to Holocaust education, especially in rural schools and small towns, in partnership with the National Writing Project's Rural Sites Network. The program is directed by Sondra Perl, author of On Austrian Soil: Teaching Those I Was Taught to Hate.[2][3][4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Olga Lengyel (2005; first published 1947). Five Chimneys: A Woman's True Story of Auschwitz (original title: I Survived Hitler's Ovens). Academy Chicago Publishers. ISBN 0897333764.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ http://www.novelguide.com/a/discover/rghl_01/rghl_01_00138.html
  3. ^ http://jewwishes.wordpress.com/2008/06/27/jew-wishes-on-five-chimneys-by-olga-lengyel/
  4. ^ http://www.thememoriallibrary.org/olga.html