“THE MOST BEAUTIFUL MOMENT OF OUR LIVES HAD ARRIVED, LIBERATION BY THE SOVIET ARMY.”
Rosa and her daughter Irma were both arrested because the Nazi regime was afraid of the labour leader Ernst Thälmann. The whole family was to be destroyed in this way. By Himmler’s decision, “Return not desirable” was written on the transport documents.
Both were deported to Ravensbrück concentration camp. Even before the arrest, Rosa felt there was a “big family” in Ravensbrück and a kind solidarity that in the end saved her life. She once said, “I will never forget this it”.
Comrades also helped to make sure Irma was saved. For Rosa and Irma to stay together in Ravensbrück’s main camp was too dangerous. That is why Irma was placed on the transport list to the Neubrandenburg sub-camp and transported there the following day. The Gestapo prohibited Irma to use her real name: “Vester”. Because of the solidarity of the women at the Ravensbrück concentration camp, Irma regained her name after a long time. One woman with a red band on her arm called out loudly and harshly, “Where is Irma Vester?” – “That was my name again now!”
Rosa and Irma had met the night before Irma was relocated and before the harrowing months in the Neubrandenburg sub-camp began. Irma experienced the liberation of Neubrandenburg by the Soviet Army on 29 April 1945. Rosa managed to escape during the death march. Rosa and Irma were first treated in a hospital and later they both recovered in the same sanatorium in the Soviet Union.
I have to stress it over and over again and I am very grateful that today I can live thanks to the international solidarity of the women who were in Ravensbrück and that I can give something back to them through my work at the Lagergemeinschaft Ravensbrück/Freundeskreis e.V.
Rosa Thälmann’s granddaughter,
Irma Gabel-Thälmann’s daughter