Zofia Galler was a Polish Jew who survived the Holocaust and emigrated to Israel after the second world war, arriving in New Zealand in 1952.
Zofia Galler, a Polish Jew, was 10 years old when war broke out in Europe, and the rest of her girlhood and early adolescence was spent bearing the pain of the other war that had simultaneously broken out against the Jews of Europe. After 18 months spent on the run with her parents, her family was apprehended by the Nazis and consigned to a Jewish ghetto in Sosnowiec-Srodula, near the township of Sosnowiec. Her father didn’t make it out from the ghetto: the authorities killed him. Her mother and sister were packed into a rail wagon and sent on to Auschwitz.
At the station they were greeted by "the angel of death,” Josef Mengele, whose record for wartime sadism would be virtually unrivalled. Mangele tapped the mother and daughter on the shoulder with a black rod and instructed them to go "reicht.” Zofia later recalled how those who were ordered to go "liech"—the elderly, the disabled, women with babies and young children—were bundled into trucks and never seen again. Indeed, the same fate was to befall Zofia’s own mother. Her parents, Hilary Minc and Cecilia Kronenblum named their only daughter Zofia, meaning wisdom, but for three of her very long formative years, their little girl was identified with the number 72154, which was tattooed on her arm upon her arrival at the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland.
Zofia survived, miraculously, moving to Israel after the war and then finally emmigrating to New Zealand in 1952, the year she met her future husband, Anton Galler. The couple lived here for the next 60 years, in Wellington and Lower Hutt. On the occasion of her passing in 2012, an obituary published in the Wellington's Dominion Post paid tribute to the reputation she enjoyed throughout her Kiwi life as an “open-minded, intelligent, liberal and entertaining” personality.
Image header above is a 'placeholder' image while we find an image for this short biography. The image is of a Marriage Canopy from an Unknown Artist/Maker 1867/68, English and is currently at www.thejewishmuseum.org. The image was taken as a part of the Google_Art_Project.