Holocaust survivor and TikTok star Lily Ebert discusses Auschwitz

‘My story is for the millions who cannot talk’: Holocaust survivor and TikTok star Lily Ebert, 98, says the people who tattooed her at Auschwitz were ‘not human’ and that the world needs to know how ‘deep’ evil can go

  • Lily Ebert, 98,  was on one of the last trains carrying Jews to Auschwitz in 1944
  • Her mother, brother, and sister were killed by the Nazis during World War 2
  • She has a TikTok with 1.6 million fans to ensure people remember war horrors
  • Now Lily’s portrait is part of a Holocaust exhibition organised by Prince Charles

A 98-year-old Holocaust survivor with 1.6 million TikTok followers appeared on GMB today to discuss why she will never stop spreading awareness of the crimes committed by the Nazis.

Lily Ebert, 98, appeared on the programme to mark Holocaust Memorial Day today, accompanied by her grandson Dov Forman, 18, who helps run her TikTok account.

She was 20-years-old when she and her family – mother and five siblings – were taken to Auschwitz on one of the last trains to enter the camp in 1944, enduring months at Birkenau, before being transported to Altenburg, a sub-camp of Buchenwald. 

Her parents and some of her siblings were condemned to death in the gas chamber after encountering the infamous Josef Mengele, notorious for his experiments on those in the camp, while the remaining family members were put to work. 

The survivor described her the horrific reality of life in a concentration camp in a book Lily’s Promise: How I Survived Auschwitz and Found the Strength to Live, which was published at the end of last year. 

Prince Charles (right) met 98-year-old Holocaust survivor Lily Ebert (left) at an exhibition of Seven Portraits: Surviving the Holocaust this week

Lily Ebert appeared on GMB this morning, on Holocaust Memorial Day, to share her story, saying she speaks for the ‘millions who cannot’

As well as writing a book about the horrific reality of life in a concentration camp, Lily Ebert spreads her story via TikTok – she has 1.6 million followers

On GMB today, she told hosts Ben Sheppard and Kate Garraway that she tells her story for ‘the millions who cannot talk’.

‘My story is never my story,’ she added. ‘It is the story of millions.’

The 98-year-old was accompanied by her grandson Dov Forman, 18, one of Lily’s 10 grandchildren and 34 great-grandchildren, who described the chilling moment the reality of his grandmother’s past hit him. 

One of his friends asked to see her Auschwitz tattoo, which she pulled up her sleeve to reveal.    

‘I remember the moment of her lifting her sleeve and showing her tattoo. That was the day I realised it would my mission to tell her story,’ he said.

‘It is our responsibility to make sure Nazi crimes are not forgotten. 

‘One day in the future there won’t be survivors and it will up to us to remind everyone of the Nazis’ crimes to humanity,’ he added. 

Host Kate Garraway asked Lily whether she had ever considered having the tattoo removed, or whether she keeps it ‘as a reminder’.

Lily revealed she had ‘never’ thought about removing it, adding: ‘I want to show the world. Saying something, to see or to hear about it makes a big difference. 

‘The world should know how deep humans can go, fellow humans give a tattoo. You were not humans, you were not Lily Ebert, you were a number. No more, no less.

‘Another human can take away my humanity. They are not humans, not me.’

During the segment the 98-year-old also discussed being part of Prince Charles’ initiative to mark Holocaust Memorial Day this year, by commissioning portraits of seven Holocaust survivors – including Lily. 

The portraits, which will serve as a reminder of the horrors of the Nazi regime, will be displayed at an exhibition at Buckingham Palace from January 27 to February 13 and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh from March 17 to June 6.  

Lily pictured with her siblings for the last time: This picture taken in 1943 before the family shows siblings (L-R) Piri, Berta, Imi, Lily and Rene (another brother, Bela, is not pictured)

Lily appeared on GMB alongside her 18-year-old grandson Dov Forman (right), who works with her to create content raising awareness around the Holocaust

Dov Forman said seeing his grandmother’s Auschwitz tattoo made him realise his ‘mission’ is to remind everyone of the Nazis’ crimes to humanity

They were unveiled at an event at the Queen’s Gallery in London on Monday, attended by Prince Charles, 73, and Camilla, 74.

Lily, who met the Prince at the event, described the occasion on GMB today as a ‘great privilege’, and said the royal is ‘one of the nicest men [she has] ever met’, adding that he was very polite to everyone.     

Charles, who is patron of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, also commissioned portraits of Manfred Goldberg, Arek Hersh, Anita Lasker Wallfisch, Rachel Levy and Zigi Shipper.

The prince called on the talents of seven acclaimed artists involved to take part in the year-long project: Paul Benney, Ishbel Myerscough, Clara Drummond, Massimiliano Pironti, Peter Kuhfeld, Stuart Pearson Wright and Jenny Saville.

The portrait of Lily Ebert, commissioned by Prince Charles to mark Holocaust Memorial Day to celebrate the individuals painted, as well as remember the millions who were killed

Lily (centre) met the Duchess of Cornwall (left) at the event launching the Seven Portraits: Surviving the Holocaust exhibition this week

In the foreword for a catalogue accompanying the exhibition, Charles wrote we are all ‘responsible for one another, for our collective history’.  

He added: ‘One of the starkest reminders of this was the Holocaust, when a third of Europe’s Jews were brutally murdered by the Nazi regime as it sought to extinguish not just the Jewish people, but Judaism.

‘Seven portraits. Seven faces. Each a survivor of the horrors of those years, who sought refuge and a home in Britain after the war, becoming an integral part of the fabric of our nation.

‘However, these portraits represent something far greater than seven remarkable individuals. They stand as a living memorial to the six million innocent men, women, and children whose stories will never be told, whose portraits will never be painted.’ 

The project is the subject of a 60-minute BBC Two documentary, Survivors: Portraits of the Holocaust, which will be screened on January 27 – Holocaust Memorial Day.




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