Outspoken Holocaust survivor Gertrude Pressburger died Friday aged 94 in her native city of Vienna, Austrian officials confirmed.
Pressburger became famous during Austria’s 2016 presidential campaign with a video message in which “Mrs. Gertrude” warned of hatred and exclusion triggered by the far-right parties.
Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen tweeted that “the death of Gertrude Pressburger fills me with deep sadness".
"Mrs. Pressburger had the courage to tell her story as a Holocaust survivor. She had the courage to stand by her opinion. To address facts. To speak the truth.”
Pressburger was born and raised in Vienna. Her Jewish family converted to Catholicism but that did not safeguard them from Nazi persecution after Austria was annexed by Germany in 1938.
After her father was arrested and tortured by the Nazis’ Gestapo secret police for alleged political activity, the family was able to escape to Yugoslavia and later to Italy, APA reported.
In 1944, the family was captured and deported to the Nazis’ Auschwitz death camp in Germany-occupied Poland, where her mother and two younger brothers were murdered. Her father was also killed by the Nazis.
Pressburger returned to Vienna after the war but initially did not talk about her horrific sufferings during the Holocaust. Eventually, she opened up about the Holocaust and about the anti-Semitic abuse she suffered in post-war Austria.