Dr Edith Eva Eger is a Hungarian-born psychologist with an incredible story. She survived the holocaust and dedicated her life to helping other people overcome their own emotional or physical traumas.
Edith Eva Eger, or Edie for short, was born in Hungary. She was a talented ballerina and gymnast as a child. While the Second World War was escalating, she was told by her trainer that she was no longer qualified to be a part of the gymnast team because she was Jewish. She felt like her whole life shattered. She had no idea what monstrous things were to come afterwards.
She was 16 years old when armed soldiers herded her Hungarian family into a wagon full of Jews and took her to Auschwitz. On her very first day at the concentration camp, she had to entertain the infamous Dr Mengele, a.k.a. The Angel of Death. She had to dance in front of him several times, during which she always pretended to be at the Budapest Opera House.
She was later transferred from Auschwitz and went to a death march. Her friends were carrying her in their arms. They were liberated by U.S. soldiers. This has made such an impact on her life that she eventually emigrated to the U.S. at the age of 22.
She became a psychologist in her forties and later became a successful family therapist. Her speciality is treating emotional and physical trauma. She still practises today, even though she is in her nineties.
Even though she has been living in America for many decades, she does not consider herself an American, nor a Hungarian for that matter. She believes that she belongs to the world, and she is no more and no less than a human being.
She came to America to escape Nazi Germany and Communist Russia, but even in the land of the free, she was faced with prejudice and racism. While she was working in a factory during the segregation, she was not allowed to go to the coloured bathroom, which was for the black workers. What she did is that she pretended not to understand English and went to the coloured bathroom anyway. I think that captures very well what kind of a person she is.
Her memoir titled The Choice was published in 2017. It was a New York Times bestseller and the Winner of the National Jewish Book Award and Christopher Award.
Her memoir was praised by The New York Times: “I can’t imagine a more important message for modern times. Eger’s book is a triumph and should be read by all who care about both their inner freedom and the future of humanity.”
She is often asked to share her experiences at different events. For example, you can watch her TEDx Talk below:
Source: www.nytimes.com; YouTube