The Story of Lela Black 1918-2008
Lela Black née Amiel was born in 1918 in Salonica, the second largest city in Greece. It had a thriving Jewish population, and Lela lived happily alongside other Jews, Christians and Muslims. In 1940 she moved from Salonica to Athens with her husband Joseph and young daughter Marcelle, leaving the rest of her family behind.
When the Germans occupied Athens in 1943, Lela, Joseph and Marcelle went into hiding. A year later, after being denounced and incarcerated at the Haidari military camp, they were transported to Auschwitz in cattle trucks, with thousands of other Greek Jews.
On arrival at Auschwitz, a selection process separated Lela from her daughter and husband; this was the last time she saw them. Somehow, Lela survived Auschwitz, enduring freezing temperatures, disease and hunger.
She was finally liberated by the Russians on 5th May 1945 and returned to Greece, only to find that her entire family from Salonica had been deported in 1943 and murdered in Auschwitz.
Eventually, Lela came to London to stay with her only living relatives – an aunt, uncle and two cousins. She later remarried and had another daughter, naming her Marcelle after the child that she had lost. Sadly, her new husband died of cancer when Marcelle was only three years old.
Ultimately, Lela lived a happy and fulfilled life, doting on her daughter and two granddaughters. She died in August 2008, following a major stroke.
Lela’s story is told by her granddaughter, Jacqueline Luck. She includes video footage of Lela’s testimonies, as well as a selection of treasured family photos. The presentation follows Lela through an extraordinary and heart-breaking journey before she eventually found peace. It ends with a message urging people not to stand by and allow hatred and intolerance to prevail.
Presented by Jacqueline Luck
Jacqueline Luck works full-time as a secondary school music teacher and lives near London with her husband and two children. She is a fervent advocate of Holocaust Education, having organised numerous Holocaust Memorial Day assemblies at her school.
Ever since finding a very old photo of her Grandma Lela as a young woman, next to a child she did not recognise, Jacqueline has felt compelled to learn more about what happened to her family during the Holocaust. She feels a great sense of responsibility to share her grandmother’s story with others and believes it is essential to bring these survivors’ stories to life; something like this should never be simply confined to the pages of a history book.