Ella Ostroff (b. 1932)

Ella Ostroff was born in Sátoraljaújhely, Hungary on June 4, 1932 to Henry and Helen Weiss. She had three older sisters (Magda, Lily, and Olga) and one brother. Ella lost both her parents and her brother in the Holocaust; her father was deported early on to a labor camp where he died, and her mother and brother were sent to the gas chambers immediately after entering Auschwitz. Ella’s oldest sister, Magda, had traveled to Budapest in 1942 to try to secure their father’s release from the labor camp he had been taken to. She secured Aryan papers and remained in Budapest until the end of the war. Ella, Olga, and Lily were moved from Auschwitz to Birkenau briefly before being selected for labor in an ammunitions factory in Geislingen, Germany.  From Geislingen, Ella and her two sisters were deported to Allach, an all-womens satellite camp of Dachau, where they remained until American soldiers liberated the camp in April of 1945. After liberation, Ella, Olga, and Lily were moved to Feldafing, a displaced persons camp just outside of Munich, where they were reunited with their oldest sister Magda. 

On September 10, 1947 Ella and her sisters boarded a ship, arriving in New York 11 days later. She met her husband, Herb, in upstate New York in 1948; they married and moved to Texas for school. Herb was in the ROTC and they got stationed in Alaska for three years after graduating from college in Texas. They hoped to be placed on the east coast near both of their families for his fourth and final year of service, but Portland, Oregon was the only option available at the time. They fell in love with the area and settled in to work and raise their family.