Members‘I Can’t Complain!’

The active 94-year-old Laura Rusk, AKA 79564, the number branded on her arm at the Auschwitz death camp in Poland, has always relied on her wit to survive.

By Ariel Rudolph |
Photo: Laura Rusk

She has spent many years traveling throughout Europe and the US, testifying of the horrors she personally witnessed during the Holocaust.


Rusk was born in Silesia, Poland. At the outbreak of World War II in 1939, she was preparing to attend the Sorbonne in Paris when her life took a sudden change of course. In fact, Jewish life in Europe came to an abrupt halt.


The Nazi Gestapo rounded up every Jew at the local football stadium of her hometown where an officer started the selection process. The young and healthy were herded to one side and the elderly, ill and mothers with infants to the other side. Laura frantically tried to catch a glimpse of the rest of her family after the separation, but they were nowhere to be seen.


This is where her wit and survival instincts came to the fore. Laura attached herself to a Red Cross delegation helping the Jews, and this temporarily...

Israel Today Membership

Become a Member

  • Read all member content

    Get exclusive in-depth reports from Israel.

  • Get exclusive in-depth reports from Israel

    Connect with Israel, right from your home.

  • Lift up the voice of truth and hope

    Support Jerusalem-based Zionist journalism.

Already a member? .