MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Some of those who survived the Holocaust are still able to share their stories.
CBS4’s Jessica Vallejo spoke with one South Florida woman who escaped the Nazis, spending years on the run.READ MORE: Johnson & Johnson Single-Shot COVID-19 Vaccine Joining In The Fight Against Global Pandemic
“He would never talk about it. He would never tell us. He says you cannot imagine,” said Ruthmarie Goerke-Matthysse.
On Holocaust Remembrance Day, Goerke-Matthysse thought of her father and his time in German concentration camps.
“He was in politics so and that was awful. It most have been terrible,” said Goerke-Matthysse.
Her father, Stanley Matthysse, was a journalist in Germany and an outspoken opponent of Adolf Hitler. He found himself in a concentration camp on three separate occasions.
“He knew what was going to happen. So of course he was blacklisted,” said Goerke-Matthysse.
Goerke-Matthysse said her mother and four siblings would constantly worry. Their father was locked up for weeks at a time.
“They would keep him there until there was no other reason to keep him there longer. The third time he was taken in the guard or whoever was in charge said Mr. Goerke, be sure you don’t ever come back. Because if you do, there is no way I can save you. You will die in a concentration camp,” said Goerke-Matthysse.
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Goerke-Matthysse’s father was also silenced as a journalist. However, the threat of the Nazis now watching his family forced him to prioritize his plans. Without any money, Matthysse made a desperate decision to flee his country.READ MORE: South Florida House Republicans Vote Against President Biden's $1.9 Trillion Pandemic Relief Package
“So he decided to buy a second- hand car. He put us all in the middle of the night when no one knew. We left the apartment completely furnished. And we took off. Not knowing where we were going,” said Goerke-Matthysse.
Goerke-Matthysse told CBS4 they traveled for a period of 11 years through 12 different countries, running away from the Nazis who were constantly on their heels.
“So we left, and again we were on the road,” said Goerke-Matthysse.
Her father struggled to find jobs.
“So he left us in a car to sleep, and eat. That also was not a happy time. We practically lived on grapes. That was very plentiful and very cheap. We could not afford anything else,” said Goerke-Matthysse.
After a long journey, Goerke-Matthysse said her father outsmarted the Nazis.
The family was able to settle in Venezuela.
“I loved my father dearly and I was very proud of him. He was with me ‘til the very end,” said Goerke-Matthysse.
Now, 93 years old, Goerke-Matthysse lives with her daughter in Miami. She said she owes her life to her father’s desperate decision.
“Oh it would have been a different story,” she said.MORE NEWS: Trump A Dominant Force At Conservative Conference In Orlando
Goerke-Matthysse has dedicated her book, “Desperate Decision,” not only to honor her father, but for people to never forget the horrors of the Holocaust.