Bearing Witness to the Holocaust: A Survivor of Bergen-Belsen Starts Life Anew in Costa Rica

According to the U.S. Holocaust Museum photo archive, the woman seated at the right was liberated from Bergen-Belsen in 1945 and immigrated to Costa Rica. She was the only survivor of a family that had seven children. The photo above was taken four years after the war, in 1949. 

Here’s what the Holocaust Museum photo archive says about the photograph and the woman:

Ewa and Lezer Kawer pose with their children, Dina and Noah, in Costa Rica.

Ewa (Ajzner) Dimentsztein (now Kawer) is the daughter of Noah and Chaja Ester Ajzner. She was born in Przedborz, Poland on December 12, 1920. She had seven siblings: Abraham, Fajga, Malka Bella, Perla, Sarah, Lejzer Dawid and Mojsze. In 1924 the family moved to Lodz, where they lived until the German invasion. Ewa’s family was forced into the Lodz ghetto in April 1940. When the ghetto was liquidated in the summer of 1944, Ewa was deported to Auschwitz. She stayed there for two months before being transferred to camps in Germany. She was eventually liberated in Bergen-Belsen on April 15, 1945. After spending a month in a rehabilitation center in Germany, Ewa was brought to Belgium by a woman who was indebted to her for having shared her bread with the woman’s daughter while in Bergen-Belsen. On May 5, 1946 Ewa married Lezer Kawer in Brussels. Two months later, sailing aboard the SS Athos II, the couple immigrated to Costa Rica. All of Ewa’s immediate family perished in the Holocaust.

And here is a mass grave at Bergen-Belsen (May 1945):

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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17 Responses to Bearing Witness to the Holocaust: A Survivor of Bergen-Belsen Starts Life Anew in Costa Rica

  1. Mary says:

    Oh my god! I cannot BELIEVE how the Nazis acted towards the Jews during the Holocaust! It’s so bad, there’s no word to describe it!

  2. james will says:

    Omg this is so awful im going to cry for these people who died in the holocaust and they are in heaven as an angel.

  3. liyah says:

    this is terrible how could people be so cruel.the people who did this are deffinitly not in heaven

  4. britany says:

    this is really meean why would u do this to someone

  5. :) says:

    fuckkk the natzis they can burn in hellll!!!!

  6. kayla says:

    this is horrible picture their very gross

  7. cinthia a says:


  8. sombody says:

    how can they do this
    11 million of which 6 million jews

    take a moment to think………. they tried to assassinate Hitler 42 times he survived all of them????? was the holocaust meant to happen?????

  9. poya says:

    oh . it was so bad.
    but in iran all of pepole are in the holocaust.

  10. thsi is veryyy cruel and who oeva had sumthin to du wit this, and if u r still alive, fuck you and ur whole family. thhis sheit is beyond nasty, cruel; and just nasty. aint dat much hate n the world, that u gottah go kill 6 million jews just because of teir race. this is worst then slavery :{

  11. some guy says:

    i was watching schnidlers list at school a while ago. i couldnt, i had to leave, then i went into shock. its not the blood/gore, its the REAL LIFE FACT that helpless souls in the masses of sheer millions begged for any kind of life, and were systemmatically denied without thought. why? because they werent german? humans ending lives, denying souls. no. humanity is not the most successful species.

  12. Sarah says:

    no one should ever have to be put through this type of torture ever again. i am taking a genocide class at my school and we are learning about a lot of different genocides. in my opinion Hilter should have not done the Holocaust because he was a german-jew, even though he killed himself in the end he should have realized that he was killing his people to.

  13. Michelle says:

    holyy crapppp.
    that is soooo messsedd upp.! ]:

  14. mary says:

    i hate all germans people i wish they would die one day all of them i dont care nazi or not nazi the still when you go there like only themself nobody else

  15. R says:

    Ewa and Lezer were my great-grandparents and I was wondering how you came about writing this story. Thank you for doing this!

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