Author Judith Hemmendinger, who dedicated her life to the child survivors of the Holocaust, has passed away at the age of 100.

Hemmendinger’s early life was marked by displacement and tragedy, with her father murdered in Auschwitz. Despite these hardships, Hemmendinger’s resilience led her to make significant contributions to post-Holocaust rehabilitation. At the young age of 22, Hemmendinger took charge of an orphanage at Chateau d’Ambloy, guiding the most religious boys among the Buchenwald survivors, who were in desperate need of kosher food and a higher level of religious observance.

One of the boys Hemmendinger cared for was Elie Wiesel, a future Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who acknowledged Hemmendinger’s profound impact on their paths to recovery and reconciliation. She co-authored with Wiesel her experiences at the orphanage in a book titled “The Children of Buchenwald: What Became of the 1,000 Jewish Children Rescued in 1945?”

Hemmendinger efforts extended beyond the immediate post-war years, as she stayed in contact with her “boys,” celebrating their successes and challenging the notion that Holocaust survivors were beyond repair. Hemmendinger’s belief in the resilience and potential of these lost children was affirmed during a 20th anniversary reunion in New York, where she witnessed their thriving lives.

Awarded the Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur in 2003 for her remarkable contributions, Hemmendinger’s legacy is a testament to the power of compassion and the enduring human spirit during the darkest chapters of history.

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