Pawel Pisk married Anny née Löwinger three days before he was deported to Auschwitz. He kept a photograph of his young wife with him throughout his time in the camp. Initially, he kept it in his mouth, and later inside a sock. On the reverse side of the photograph is a dedication in Czech from Anny to Pawel.
In an interview that he gave in August 1990, Pawel described going into the showers at Auschwitz-Birkenau.
"We took off our clothes. Took off everything. There was absolutely nothing left on us. I kept one thing with me – a photograph of my wife Anny, who I had married just three days earlier (in Theresienstadt). I folded the photograph so that it would be very small and that is how I put it into my mouth. I carried the photograph with me everywhere until the end of the war. I hid it in clothes and pockets, depending on what I was wearing. The photograph was a kind of fetish, an object of worship, a type of mezuzah; something that connected me to life outside, to normal life. I was romantically connected to Anny, a connection that was very complex, but that photograph was a piece of normality."
Anny was born in 1924 in Sopron, Austria to Leopold and Malvine Löwinger. After she was born, the family moved to Ostrava in Czechoslovakia, where their daughter Tzipora and son Paul were born. Leopold was a Hebrew teacher. In 1928 he published a Hebrew language text book entitled ‘Sifri’.
In September 1942, the family was deported to Theresienstadt, where Anny worked in a bakery and Tzipora worked in a vegetable garden. They would both smuggle food to their parents. In the autumn of 1943, Leopold was murdered in Theresienstadt.
In September 1944, for the first time, two transports consisting of only young people were sent from Theresienstadt. Anny and Pawel, who had met and become friendly in Theresienstadt, married hurriedly in the hope that it would make it easier for them to find each other later on. On 29 September, Anny’s younger brother Paul, her new husband Pawel and her sister Tzipora’s husband (they had also married in Theresienstadt) were deported to Auschwitz.
A few days later, together with many of the wives of the young people who had already been deported, Anny, her sister and mother volunteered to join the transport, on the basis of the false promise that had been made to them, that they would be reunited with their loved ones.
Following the selection, their mother was sent to gas chambers and Anny and Tzipora were assigned to forced labor in the camp. A few months later, the sisters were transferred from Auschwitz as part of a group of some 500 young women, and sent to an aeroplane factory in Germany. Towards the end of the war, they were sent to the Mauthausen concentration camp where they were liberated by the Americans in May 1945.
After the war, Anny and Pawel were reunited, but then went their separate ways. Anny immigrated to Eretz Israel and married Israel Tzchori (Imre Weisberg) from Hungary, a survivor of a labor camp. Her sister Tzipora’s husband did not survive. Her brother Paul survived, but he disappeared without a trace after the liberation.
Anny died on 11 October 2004. Her children Hagit and Itai donated her photograph to Yad Vashem at a collection day in Tel Aviv – the same photograph that had been like a good luck charm for the Auschwitz inmate, Pawel Pisk.