Renate Guttman

id4571_Renate Guttman

Renate, her twin brother, Rene, and their German-Jewish parents lived in Prague. Shortly before the twins were born, Renate’s parents had fled Dresden, Germany, to escape the Nazi government’s policies against Jews. Before leaving Germany to live in Czechoslovakia, Renate’s father, Herbert, worked in the import-export business. Her mother, Ita, was an accountant. 

1933-39: Our family lived in a six-story apartment building along the #22 trolley line in Prague. A long, steep flight of stairs led up to our apartment, where my brother, Rene, and I shared a crib in our parents’ bedroom; a terrace overlooked the yard outside. Rene and I wore matching outfits and were always well-dressed. Our days were often spent playing in a nearby park. In March 1939 the German army occupied Prague. 

1940-45: Just before I turned 6, we were sent to Auschwitz from the Theresienstadt ghetto. There, I became #70917. I was separated from my brother and mother and taken to a hospital where I was measured and X-rayed; blood was taken from my neck. Once, I was strapped to a table and cut with a knife. I got injections that made me throw up and have diarrhea. While ill in the hospital after an injection, guards came in to take the sick to be killed. The nurse caring for me hid me under her long skirt and I was quiet until the guards left. 

Renate and her brother survived and were reunited in America in 1950. They learned that as one pair of the “Mengele Twins,” they had been used for medical experiments

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