Auschwitz survivor spends 71st Valentine’s Day with soldier who rescued her

A Hungarian Jew is preparing to spend her 71st Valentine’s Day with the Scottish soldier who rescued her from Auschwitz.

Edith Steiner was 20 when John Mackay’s commando unit liberated her and a number of other Jewish prisoners from the concentration camp in Poland.

She caught the eye of the then 23-year-old John at a village hall dance to celebrate their liberation but he was too shy to approach her.

Instead he asked a friend if she would dance with him, but Edith refused saying she would only do so if he asked her himself.

So the solider, who escape an Italian prisoner of war camp by dressing as the enemy, plucked up the courage and what followed was a whirlwind romance.

The pair married on July 17, 1946, and have two children, seven grand-children and five great-grand children; they worked as hoteliers before moving to a care home in Dundee once retired.

Their daughter Sharon Mackay told the Mail Online her father, who was originally from Glasgow, was also one of the first soldiers to be recruited for the SAS.

The couple plan to mark Valentine’s Day with a party but said their advice to young couples is to be romantic all year round.

****FREE PIC**** A SURVIVOR of Auschwitz and the Scots commando who helped save her will mark their 71st Valentine's Day together tomorrow (Tue). John Mackay, 96, rescued a column of Jewish prisoners from their Nazi guards as they marched from Auschwitz to another concentration camp in the closing months of the Second World War IN PIC................. Aged 20 and 23 in 1944 (c) Wullie Marr/ For pic details, contact Wullie Marr........... 07989359845

Pamela Shaw, activity coordinator at Bupa Balcarres Care Home, where the pair now live, said: ‘John is a true gentleman.

‘He is always checking in to make sure Eci is happy and the pair still refer to each other as “sweetheart” on a daily basis.

‘Their devotion to one another is clear to anyone who spends even a short time in their company.

‘John came to join us a year after Eci moved in, so it’s wonderful that they are both near one another again. Our main aim now is to ensure that they continue to enjoy a happy life together.

‘We’re having a little party for all our residents this Valentine’s Day, so it’s lovely to have such a real example of true love with us at the home.’

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