Judy Lysy was born to a well-to-do family in Kosice, Czechoslovakia, in 1928. Her father owned a flour mill. The family lived in a comfortable home and Judy and her sister went to private school. Judy had a happy childhood, with a large extended family and lots of friends. When Hungary annexed part of Slovakia in 1938, the lives of the Jewish population changed drastically. Within a few years Judy could no longer go to school and her father’s business was seized.
On May 18, 1944 Judy and her family were deported to Auschwitz. Judy, her mother and her sister were taken to the Zillerthal work camp, a sub-camp of Gross-Rosen. In January 1945, they were forced on a death march first to Mauthausen in Austria, and then on to Gunskirchen. This is where they were liberated in May 1945 by the American Army. In August the three women returned to Kosice and found Judy’s father.
Judy got married in 1946 and her first daughter was born a year later. The family left Czechoslovakia in 1948 and went to Caracas, Venezuela. They immigrated to Canada in 1952 and settled in Toronto, where their second daughter was born. They have three granddaughters and several great-grandchildren. Judy shares her experiences with students as a Speaker of the Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre in Toronto.