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Press Information published by the International Auschwitz Committee


On the death of the French Auschwitz survivor Liliane Badour-Esrail: "Without Liliane the world has become a little darker."

Liliane Badour-Esrail © Michèle Déodat

Liliane Badour-Esrail © Michèle Déodat




In Berlin Christoph Heubner, Executive Vice President of the International Auschwitz Committee, made the following statement after receiving news of the death of the French Auschwitz survivor Liliane Badour-Esrail:

"It is with sadness, respect and gratitude that Auschwitz survivors around the world are bidding farewell to Liliane Badour- Esrail, an outstanding and courageous woman, their companion and a fellow sufferer. She passed away in Paris at the age of 95 on the morning of 1 May. Liliane grew up with her two brothers in their grandparents’ house in Biarritz. They were baptized and brought up in the Catholic faith, unaware of the fact that they had Jewish roots. When her two brothers were being collected for deportation in February 1944, 19-year-old Liliane spoke out with courage and determination, insisting that she accompany them.

In Drancy transit camp near Paris she first met her future husband Raphael Esrail. He had been arrested as a Jewish member of the French resistance, and promised Liliane that he would take care of her two brothers for as long as the prisoners were segregated according to their sex. A few days later the deportation continued to Auschwitz. On arrival her brothers René and Henri were immediately murdered in the gas chambers. Raphael Esrail survived Auschwitz. His hope of seeing Liliane Badour again had kept him alive. Liliane survived the camp. She was liberated by Russian troops on 2 May 1945. The couple married in 1948.

Liliane Esrail never got over the loss of her brothers in Auschwitz, and Auschwitz remained a painful driving force throughout her life. Together with her husband Raphael and other French Auschwitz survivors, she was active in the ‘Union des Déportés d’Auschwitz’ and developed many educational and media projects for school children, teachers and students. She was an eye witness who never sought the limelight, but her innermost courage helped her to overcome her silence time and again, in order to find words for what she had experienced in Auschwitz, and what had been done to her brothers. She moved young and old people in France and Germany with her depictions of the horrors, and with the gentleness and human kindness that she radiated, because she refused to give vent publicly to any bitterness and pain.

In 2012 she was awarded the German Federal Cross of Merit. Raphael Esrail recently presented the German edition of his memoirs in Berlin: ‘Die Hoffnung auf einen Kuss. Auschwitz, Liliane und ich.’ Without Liliane the world has become a little darker."


For further Information

Christoph Heubner

Executive Vice President
International Auschwitz Committee
Phone ++ 49 (0)30 26 39 26 81