The Batis family - Iosiph-Pepo, Eftihia and their children, Artemis (b. 1928) and Solomon-Makis (b.1934), lived in Ioannina, Greece.
In 1941, the Germans occupied Greece. The territory in which Ioannina was situated was given to the Italians. After the Germans entered the city in the summer of 1943, the Batis children’s father and grandfather were imprisoned by the SS and executed in Salonika.
On 24 March 1944, the Jews of the city were ordered to report to a collection point. Heavy snow was falling. Eftihia packed a bag for each child with warm clothes and some food, and they set off. Ioannina’s Jews were transported in military cars to the city of Larissa, where they were left in a public building with no beds or sanitary facilities, and practically no food. Over a week later, they were deported to Auschwitz in sealed cattle cars equipped with just 2 buckets, one with drinking water and one for human waste. Many perished on the tortuous 8-day journey. The train stopped only to empty out the latrine buckets, refill the water containers, and move the bodies of those who had died en route to the car carrying corpses.
Towards evening on 11 April 1944, the transport reached Auschwitz and the Jews were immediately subjected to a selection. Men and young women were selected for work, while the remaining Jews were herded onto open trucks. Eftihia held her two children close and directed them towards the line of women and children making their way to the trucks. The fur coat Eftihia had given Artemis to protect her from the cold made her look older than she was: a German struck her on the shoulder and ordered her to join the line of young women. Artemis waved farewell to her mother and brother; she never saw them again.
The group Artemis joined was marched to Birkenau, escorted by armed Germans and dogs. Once in Birkenau the women were forced to undress, their hair was shaven, their arms were tattooed with numbers and they were sent off to forced labor. A few days later, they found out that all their family members had been taken to the gas chambers and murdered.
In January 1945, Artemis was forced on a death march to Germany, where she was liberated. In 1946 Artemis immigrated to Eretz Israel.