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Betty Engel (born Brenner)

Betty Brenner was born in 1925 in Zagreb. She remembers her childhood there as an exceptionally happy one. She finished six years of high school in Zagreb before her father decided that the family should flee Zagreb believing this to be the only way to spare them the deportations. Her father obtained forged papers for his wife and daughters at great expense. Betty recalls that they set out for Karlovac, where they a friend of her father's was waiting for them. He took them through the woods at three in the morning. "I remember that my sister was singing the Balalaika, which was then a very popular song," says Betty.

Her father's friend accompanied them as far as the river Kolpa [border river between Croatia and Slovenia], where a boy was waiting for them. He led them across the river and to Črnomelj. They stayed with the Flek family, who were at first less than enthusiastic about their arrival, because they were afraid someone might betray them. They remained in Črnomelj for about three or four months before traveling to Ljubljana to live with the Drolc family. A smile appears on Betty's face as she recalls: "The Drolc family had a gorgeous boy named Milojko. Both my sister and I were in love with him." Two other families and a woman from Vienna who had a deaf-mute child lived with the Drolc family. Betty's parents did not trouble their children with the uncertainties of the future. One day, they left for Italy, arriving there on the Christmas day. They lived in the village of Montillio near Milan until 1943. A Fascist living there gave Betty's father a scarf and told them that it would get them far. The family was impoverished and in constant fear as danger lurked everywhere. Betty's father wore the scarf tied around his neck. They found themselves in a city that was patrolled by German soldiers throughout the night, but they were not stopped. Betty still remembers being surprised: "It is almost unbelievable, impossible, that they left us alone!"



She started her life from scratch after the war. They moved to Israel with her husband and built their home there. She has always enjoyed art and drawing.