Gena Turgel, a Holocaust survivor who comforted diarist Anne Frank at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp months before its liberation, has died at the age of 95.
Britain’s chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, said Turgel died on Thursday and wrote on Twitter on Friday that her legacy is “our responsibility now”.
The Holocaust Educational Trust said Turgel dedicated her life to sharing her story of surviving the Jewish ghetto in Krakow, Poland and the German Nazi camps at Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan wrote on Twitter that he was “saddened to learn” of Turgel’s death.
Khan said he had met her at the Yom HaShoah commemoration earlier this year and was “deeply moved by her contribution and inspired by her lifelong commitment to educating people about the horrors of the Holocaust”
It was in a hospital at Bergen-Belsen that Turgel cared for Anne Frank as the teenager was dying of typhus.
She once told the BBC: “I washed her face, gave her water to drink, and I can still see that face, her hair and how she looked.”
After the Second World War, Turgel married one of the camp’s British liberators, Norman Turgel, earning her the nickname “The Bride of Belsen”.