Bearing Witness: Stories Behind the Artifacts in the Yad Vashem Museum Collection

Survival Against the Odds

A jute bag Sidonie Asherova received in TheresientstadtA jute bag Sidonie Asherova received in Theresientstadt   More photos

Sidonie was born in 1866 in Komarno, Slovakia, to the Schlesinger family. Her first husband passed away leaving her with three children – Odon, Yenka and Ignatz.

She remarried in 1902 to Yisrael Samuel Ascher, the head of the Jewish community in Zlate Moravce, himself a widower with eight children.

In 1906 the couple had a child, Hugo. After Yisrael Samuel’s death in 1932, Sidonie remained by herself in Zlate Moravce.

She was protected from deportation until 1944 as a result of her son’s connection with Alexander Rakowski, an employee at the district court. Rakowski even escorted Sidonie to a hiding place on the edge of Zlate Moravce, before he himself fled and joined the partisans. Sidonie remained hidden by villagers until December 1944, going outside only under the cover of darkness. However, when the battlefront came closer, leading to both increased partisan activities as well as German retaliations, those caring for her told her she could no longer hide with them. Disguised as a villager and possessing false documents, they escorted her to the train station where she boarded a train for Banska Bystrica, a destination chosen by many Jews hoping that the partisans in that region would emerge victorious.

Three security agents who were hunting down fleeing Jews recognized her during her journey, and brought her back to Zlate Moravce. She was imprisoned there until she was deported along with two other Jews to the Sered Concentration Camp. In the camp she received the Jewish star she was forced to wear on her clothing for identification.

Sidonie was deported at the end of December 1944 from Sered to the Theresienstadt Ghetto; she was 78 years old.

After the liberation of Theresienstadt in May 1945, Sidonie was transferred to a camp of the Red Cross in Bratislava for rehabilitation. In June, her son Hugo Ascherov, arrived in the camp and brought her home. She placed the few personal objects she had with her, which were in essence everything she owned, in a jute sack she found in the camp and returned home.

Sidonie Ascherova passed away at the age of 90 in 1956. She was buried in the cemetery at Knezice, next to her husband Yisrael-Samuel Ascher.

Yad Vashem Artifacts Collection
Gift of Anna Táborská, Zlate Moravce, Slovakia