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Published on Apr 4, 2012
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Toby Bash - born in 1932 in Bradejov, Slovakia, to the Halberstam family, an Orthodox family affiliated with the Sanz Hasidim. Toby's grandfather, Naftali Zvi, and father, Yosef Shmuel were rabbis. Her mother, Chaya Rivka, gave birth several times during the war, and by 1944 the family had ten children -- Feige, Toby, Channa, Moshe, Menachem, Gita, Sara, Ita, Yehuda and Pessia. In 1935, the family moved to Ryglice, Poland. One night, the family awakened and saw Toby's father standing outside being humiliated by the Germans. A short time later, the entire family moved to Slovakia. When the Germans invaded Slovakia, all the Jews were rounded up for deportation to Poland. The Slovakians dragged Toby's old and ill grandfather from the house and sent him to Auschwitz. In late 1942, most of the children were smuggled into Hungary; Toby remained in Slovakia with her parents and an infant sister. Their home became a center for Jews who had escaped from Poland to Hungary to organize and obtain provisions. In the spring of 1944, the family moved to northern Slovakia, where they migrated from town to town, seeking shelter and surviving in improvised hideouts. Some time later, the Germans caught them and sent them to Auschwitz. After the selektion, Toby did not see her parents and siblings again. In the winter of 1944, Toby was assigned to a detail that dug trenches in eastern Poland. She participated in the death march to Bergen-Belsen. After the British liberated the camp, she was taken to a hospital in Sweden where she received treatment for two years. After the war, Toby found out about her father's attempt to conceal her brother in the men's barracks; when the Germans discovered this, they murdered both father and son. Toby and her twin sister -- the family's only survivors -- sailed toward Palestine on the Exodus, were sent back to France, reached Israel in 1948, and settled on Kibbutz Yesodot. Toby has five children, twenty-five grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter.