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Witnesses to History Keepers of Memory
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Margaret Kaufman Newman

Margaret and Samuel’s wedding bands

In April 1945, the Buchenwald concentration camp (Germany) was liberated. Margaret Kaufman Newman, a former prisoner, found a jewelry box among the goods abandoned by the SS. From its contents, she kept only a watch and a wedding band. After returning to her home in Satu Mare (Romania) a few months later, she married Samuel, her pre-war love. Since the couple had no money for wedding rings, Margaret had the band cut into two new ones which she is holding. She also had their names and wedding date inscribed on the rings.

Listen to the wedding bands' story

Read the transcript Close the transcript

I was in Buchenwald (Germany) there, you know, after liberation, where everybody gets something.
They packed other jewelry, whatever they collected in a big box. And it was over there, take it,
whatever you need. We went to look for it with my friends and I said, “I will take that big ring, I will take
it home, okay? And a watch.” I gave it to my brother when I came home but the ring I kept. And then my
husband came home and then we got married, we didn’t have money, so we had to take the ring and
cut it. And from one ring we made two. These two rings are one ring. I had a cousin who didn’t go to the
war, he was a jeweller, and he put in the insignia, the names on it and the date, the wedding and the
name, you know.
What does it say inside?
It says when we got married, November 12, 1945, my name and I have his name.
Where did you know your husband from?
From birth almost. We were in the same street. And then we moved to that street and they moved a
few blocks, two blocks away from us on the same street, at the other end. He was my brother’s friend
And where did you get married and when?
In Szatmar (today Satu Mare, Romania), 1945. I came home and I was really disappointed. You didn’t
care for anybody, for anything. You didn’t want anything. My husband came home later. I didn’t even
know that he is alive. We had still friends and some came home, some of the boys, and one came to tell
me that Picu came home. I said, “Big deal!” He said, “He wants to come and see you.” I said, “I don’t
want to see him. I don’t want to see anybody.” He came. So, he asked me, “You don’t love me any
more?” I said, “I don’t know!” And then his sister was already there, so I moved in with his sister. And
we got married in November, we had our wedding at home because we had a supper, we had 100
people, from camp, you know, the friends. And a month later we said, “This is not for us.” And we
decided that we are going to leave. I just left the key in the door and walked away. And overnight we
crossed the border to Hungary. And I never went back!

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Margrit Stenge

Memories of a life in hiding