Accession Number: NEKHC:2010.26

Object: Photograph

Category: Victoria Ancona-Vincent; The Victoria Ancona-Vincent Collection; Italy; Fossoli Transit Camp; Auschwitz; Ravensbrück; Malchow; Leipzig; Death Marches; Cottbus.

Physical Description: Photograph; complete.

Information on Item: This photograph shows Victoria Ancona-Vincent as a 16 year old girl in Milan. 

Image Use: Use of images owned by the National Holocaust Centre and Museum is governed by our Terms and Conditions.

This photograph forms part of the Victoria Ancona Vincent Collection. The picture was taken in Milan in August 1939 and shows Victoria as a 16 year old playing on a log. Victoria was born Vittoria on 26 June 1923, in Jerusalem and is the youngest of nine siblings. Her mother, Nezhah, died shortly after Victoria’s birth. The family left Jerusalem for Brussels in 1930, led by the business of her father, Saul. The family celebrated Jewish festivals, and enjoyed a comfortable life. As the siblings grew up they took jobs and began lives all over the world. In 1936 Victoria’s father moved his business to Alexandria, Egypt, and Victoria went with her sister to a boarding school in Brussels for a year before joining him in Alexandria. The stay in Alexandria was short, and in 1937 Victoria’s father relocated to Milan, Italy. Although they tried to move on to the United States the family were not able to obtain the necessary documentation. As the racial and anti-Jewish laws increased in Italy under Benito Mussolini, Victoria was forced to leave school and her father was unable to work. Victoria began work in a shop which was actually a front for a resistance movement which was assisting Jewish people. On 9 November 1943, Victoria was arrested by the Gestapo and taken to San Vittore prison, Milan. From there she was transferred to Fossoli Transit Camp and from there taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Killing Centre, arriving in May 1944. In early January 1945, Victoria was forced to march out of Auschwitz as part of what became ‘death marches’ by the SS, who were evacuating the camp before it was reached by advancing Soviet forces. At the end of January the surviving prisoners, including Victoria, were loaded into trucks by their guards arriving at Ravensbrück Concentration Camp on 23 January 1945. Victoria was moved three time more, through Malchow, and then Leipzig Camp, before another ‘death march’ to the river Elbe. They arrived at the Elbe on 22 April 1945, and Victoria took a chance to escape. She endured much hardship over the following days, reaching Cottbus after twelve further days of walking. There, at a camp for ex-internees run by Soviet forces, Victoria received what little help there was, although she was seriously ill. Victoria returned to Milan, arriving on 12 September 1945, where she reunited with several relatives including her father who had survived. Victoria worked hard to begin the process of rebuilding her life, meeting Alfred Vincent, a British soldier, in March 1946. The two would later marry, and move to England.