You don’t often hear about couples who met and fell in love at Nazi concentration camps–let alone ones who kept it a secret from their grown kids until their 50th wedding anniversary. But Melbourne couple Sigi,92, and Hanka Siegreich, 91, never told their kids how they met until now.
So, the real question is, why didn’t they? Their oldest daughter, Evelyne, told the Daily Mail why they always had a feeling their parents met under mysterious circumstances:
“We grew up surrounded by so much love and we knew they had met in the war but we were definitely surprised by the circumstances. We knew they had some kind of dark secret somewhere, we saw how much they loved us and each other but knew it was strange that we didn’t have grandparents, it was just the four of us. We asked them why we didn’t have other [family members] but they just never wanted to talk about it and would just say they were lost in the war.”
Their love story is straight out of a movie. Sigi and Hanka met on New Year’s Eve in 1944, inside the Czestochowa concentration camp in Poland. Usually, men and women were banned from speaking together, but that night, the guards allowed them to spend time together. Sigi says it was love at first sight, stating:
“I was struck by lightning. I just knew right then that she was the one. I still get the same feeling when I look at her now. Always, she is beautiful.”
Despite having only spent two hours together (and sharing one kiss on the cheek), they were married 17 days later, only hours after the camp was liberated by the Red Army. Afterwards, they moved to Israel, and eventually immigrated to Australia with their two daughters in 1971.
Evelyne spoke about how there is still so much passion between her parents even now:
“He still looks at mum the same way. He will ring me in the morning and say, ‘Look at your mum, she is so beautiful, there is not a drop of makeup on her skin and look how beautiful she is.’”
At their 50th wedding anniversary celebration, Sigi gave a heartfelt speech where he spoke about the first time he saw Hanka’s “beautiful brown eyes peering from the top of a bunk,” and how she is “a part of my makeup, like my arm she will always be a part of me.”
Greatest love story ever.