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Holocaust survivor recalls her experiences

Holocaust survivor Zitta Wilkinson of Lawton is 89 years old, but she has forgotten none of the horrific events she experienced between the ages of 9 and 15, when an all-encompassing war held her family in thrall.

She was born Willimina Zitta Uhl on May 25, 1930, in Bauetz, Romania. She comes from a family of Pennsylvania-Dutch ancestry who settled in Romania.

At the age of 9, she stood helplessly by while German Schutzstaffel (SS) soldiers interrogated her father, Johann Uhl. The SS had information that the Uhls were hiding a Jewish family. Although terrified at what they were witnessing, Zitta’s family stayed strong, allowing the family to escape the next morning. To this day, her family does not know what happened to the neighbors they hid that night.

Fires Center of Excellence (FCoE) Chief of Staff Col. David Stewart said that was the beginning of a harrowing journey for Zitta Wilkinson and her family. In the years before the Allies celebrated Victory in Europe Day, they would endure forced labor at multiple refugee and work camps.

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