Suzanna Braun, who experienced the horrors of the Holocaust and defied death at least three times, believes she survived because of her determination to save her sister -- and some divine intervention.

The first time she beat death was sheer luck.

Suzanna was just two weeks shy of 16 when she, her sister Agi and her parents were rounded up in their hometown of Kosice, in what is now Slovakia, and sent to the Polish death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.

There, the women were separated from the men. As her father was taken away to the gas chambers, he shouted his last words to her: "Take care of your sister!"

Agi, four years older than her sister, was already in ill health.

Now 86 and living in a retirement home in Shoresh, a small village west of Jerusalem, Suzanna recalls every detail of how the women were stripped and herded into the "showers" where there was a faint odour of gas.

Locked behind a steel door with soap in their hands, some women waited for water. Others, who had heard the rumours, began panicking.

It was only when the doors opened they realised they had cheated death.

"They were out of gas," she told AFP in an interview as Israel began marking Holocaust memorial day and 70 years since the end of the war.

Wearing dresses from gypsies killed before them, they were loaded onto trucks and driven to Estonia to join thousands of other women on a death march aimed at killing or weakening as many as possible.

After her mother was shot dead during the march, Suzanna did not speak for a month.

But it hardened her resolve to look after her only surviving relative.

"I didn't think about anything, only how to save my sister. Because father asked me to take care of her."

Lethal injection

At one point, they were forced to cross a wide river but Agi could not swim so Suzanna made makeshift wooden floats to carry her to the other side.

They survived the march but were taken to Stuffhof camp in Poland where Agi was put into the infirmary and Suzanna would sneak in food for her at night.

When the Nazis realised Russian forces were heading toward the camp, they attempted to kill as many inmates as possible with lethal injections containing strychnine and gasoline.

As the Nazi orderly was going from woman to woman injecting the poison, Suzanna told her sister and three other women to turn their arms over so the injection would hopefully miss a vein.

The poison took effect quickly.

"My hand stopped working," she said showing a pale, rounded scar.

Looking around, Suzanna seized a wad of hay from their bedding and began putting pressure on her arm, she recounted.

"It exploded like a geyser."

Quickly she started digging into the flesh with stalks of hay to gouge out the poison. She managed to do the same for her sister and another woman.

"It was like providence," she said.

Covered in blood, she dragged her sister to a nearby hill and rolled her down it. A Nazi officer was passing so she played dead, and he kicked her down the same hill.

She then got her sister to an abandoned cowshed where she nourished her with leftover milk until Russian forces arrived the next day.

For love of a sister

Not long after, at a hospital in Danzig, Agi's life was once again saved by medical staff who amputated her gangrened feet.

"The whole time, not my brain but rather divine providence worked for me," Suzanna said of her survival.

"And I cooperated with that providence, with the sixth sense."

The two eventually immigrated to Israel where Suzanna married, had a daughter and now has two grandchildren. Agi, who married but remained childless, eventually died in 2013, aged 88.

That was when Suzanna decided to go public with the sisters' story by going back to her hometown along with filmmaker Yarden Karmin to document her story.

The documentary, called "In The Third Person", is being given its first private screening on Wednesday, as Israel marks 70 years since the liberation of the camps and the end of the war.

"This entire story is being told because I wanted to commemorate her," she said.

"My last task is not to live well, go to the cinema and other frivolities – but to tell the story."

All along it was about saving her big sister.

"I wasn't afraid to die. It wasn't about me," she said, explaining that the film was a way of preserving her memory.

"I wanted something to remain after her."


Uganda Government Civil Service pensioners testified in Parliament how their pension was not given to them:

L-R Salvatory Obura Ogwal, Geoffrey Posiano Odida, David

Muloki and Jimmy Busuulwa present their grievancies while

appearing before the Public Accounts Commitee of Parliament

about the pension scam.


By Yasiin Mugerwa

Posted  Wednesday, July 8   2015 


MPs investigating the pension scam witnessed some emotion as pensioners whose money was stolen narrated how their photos were used to “siphon” more than Shs165 billion.
The former employees of the East African Community that collapsed in 1977 nearly broke down as they came face–to–face with officials from Bank of Uganda and Cairo International Bank, whom MPs accuse of abetting the fraud that took place in the Ministry of Public Service.
Silence gripped the committee room when the Public Accounts Committee chairperson, Ms Alice Alaso, asked Mr Darwish Osama, the executive director Cairo International Bank, to look into the eyes of “the miserable pensioners” whom she said have endured years of agony because of the fraud.
“I sympathise with them. They are victims of a big conspiracy started by individuals in the Ministry of Public Service, the association of the former EAC employees and individuals working in Cairo Bank. I don’t deny this,” Mr Osama said: “The scam was a big lesson to us and the bank has removed the people involved, improved security and put in place in place internal commitment control systems.”
Five senior citizens Obura Ogwal, Godfrey Odida, David Muloki, Jimmy Busulwa and Mr Abdallah Tebaabe, appeared before PAC where they recounted how “thieves” played with their money.
“For 22 years I have been on the street and you can’t imagine the misery I have gone through without getting my pension,” Mr Odida said. “Some of us joined the Community in 1961, worked devotedly and never went anywhere. Today, I am a miserable man, I live on my children’s mercy. It is a painful thing.” 
Mr Ogwal said in 2010 he submitted his documents to the Ministry of Public Service for payment of Shs75 million but nothing came through. “I went to Public Service and they told me the [former] Commissioner for Pensions, Mr Kiwanuka Kunsa had stopped any payments to former EAC workers because we were paid,” Mr Ogwal said.
Mr Odida told the committee that Shs81 million was paid to a one Ludovico Losonto under whose name was his picture yet the names, the bank account and the rest of the details were not his. Mr Busulwa’s photo was given to Hanington Basajja Kambwe and was paid Shs75m and Mr Tibaabe’s photo was given to a one Andrew from Mpigi yet he is from Mukono District.
The committee also heard that Mr Muloki’s photo was labelled under John Sabit Cosmas who accessed Shs89 million from Cairo Bank. However, Mr Muloki said: “I have never opened an account in Cairo Bank, my account is in Housing Finance Bank.” 
Mr Odida requested Ms Alaso to allow the Cairo Bank lawyer, Mr Enos Tumusiime, who was their boss at Uganda Railways Corporation, to tell the committee how he feels about their misery. Mr Tumusiime said he feels very bad, but explained that he left in 1996 and that all employees were getting their pension at the time. 
Deputy Governor, Mr Louis Kasekende and the director, commercial banking, Mr Benedict Sekabira came under pressure to explain what the MPs called the bank’s failure to supervise Cairo Bank. Mr Sekabira told the committee that they inspected CIB, raised the red flags and removed the CIB board of directors before the pension scam. Mr Osama said some staff at the bank fear to come and testify for fear of being killed by “the thieves”.