All about Irene Reich

During his Wednesday evening speech at Yad Vashem marking the commencement of Holocaust Remembrance Day, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett presented a chilling testimony page about a baby girl born in Auschwitz in September 1944 and murdered half an hour later. The baby was not even given a name. The witness page was filled out in 2001 by her mother, Irene Reich from Melbourne.

The testimony page reveals that Irene was deported to Auschwitz from Hungary and on September 11, 1944, her newborn was stripped from her mother’s arms a half hour post-natal. There was no time to even name the baby girl – so only her family name and the parents’ details are recorded on the testimony.

But who was Irene Reich? What was her fate prior to her deportation and after release from Auschwitz? How could she – if at all, – cope with her severe loss? What were the circumstances of the birth? How did she get to Australia and what was her life like there? Did she have more children? Why did Irene wait more than 50 years after the baby’s death she decided to commemorate her on a witness page at the Yad Vashem Museum?, Hungarian language Israeli media site has issued a call to discover the secrets of Irene and Baby Girl Reich. Based on the existing and available data collected from the internet, in our first article we reached out to our readers and asked them to help us put together the pieces of this puzzle so we can finally share the entire story of a victim who was not even given the blessings of a name (shem) of her own.

After an initial search, in our first article on we summarized the following details: according to these documents at the Arolsen Archive, Irene Reich was born in Icrivic (Gálszécs) on June 23, 1919, and was deported from the city of Edelény in the summer of 1944.

In addition, we know from the testimony page that the baby’s father was Leopold Reich (Lipot Reich). He, too, survived the horrors as documented in the records of the Australian Immigration Authority: on October 25, 1950, both Irene and Lipot, then 41 years old, sailed on the ship “Naples” in search of a new homeland, away from the hell of Europe.

After posting these details on social media and especially in Facebook groups dealing with the Jewish Hungarian geneology, we discovered additional details about the Reich family’s past.

There is an announcement from the newspaper Ujsag dated 11 January 1942. We also learned that the Reichs’ returned to the town of Irene and Lipot were engaged in 1942 as indicated in an announcement from the Ujsag newspaper dated 11 January 1942. Moreover, we found that after the war, the Reichs’ returned to the town of Edelény and in 1949 Lipot even served as the president of the local Orthodox community, which then numbered only 30 souls (source: Josef Schweizer – Hungarian Jewish Communities, April 1944 [Budapest, 1994] / Appendix 870).

At this point significant help came from two professionals: Mattan Segev-Frank and Yaakov Goldstein, genealogists and admins of The Israeli Genealogy Hub. For years, they have been researching the famous Rabbi Koppel Charif (Yaakov Koppel Altenkunstadt-Reich) and his descendants. After listening to the PM’s speech, they also became curious and entered the search with full vigor. They soon retrieved the marriage records of Irene’s parents and grandparents from the JewishGen site, and obtained a photocopy of the gravestones of Irene Reich nee Wagner and her husband Lipot Reich from the JOWBR site.

We know now, that Irene and Lipot are no longer alive, but the pictures of their tombstones revealed that the couple had another daughter as well as grandchildren.

After that we received information about the daughter’s identity through this page, printed before the family emigrated to Australia:

We know now, that Katalin (Kathleen/Kate?) Reich was born after the end of the war – and before 1950, and emigrated with her parents to Australia.

In addition, Matan and Yaakov found information even about a surviving brother of Irene named Ludwig Wagner, who according to documents found, was alive in 2007 and lived in Germany.

According to the family tree that is only partly public on MyHeritage, Katalin’s last name is listed as Reich Franks – but it is not possible to see her first name in Australia.

We continue in our effort to tell the story of the baby who did not manage to get a name.

We will be happy to gather all information about the Reich family, Irene Reich and its descendants at our email address:

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