“She lost all her sisters, she lost her parents; she lost everybody,” Anna’s daughter Sylvia Eisman explained.
When Plaszow was liquidated Anna was taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau, and a harrowing period ensued. But with the arrival of Schindler’s list, a miracle happened. “[It’s] a mystery … she never knew how it came about,” Eisman said.
Those lucky enough to be on the list were taken to Brunnlitz, in Czechoslovakia, where Schindler’s munitions factory was. To Anna’s surprise and joy, she arrived to discover her husband was there too, having been brought from a different camp. They would remain there until liberation.
“She always sung the praises, not only of Oskar Schindler, but of Mrs Schindler. Mrs Schindler was an angel, she said. How she looked after people and brought them food, and she was such a loving person and so kind,” Eisman recalled.
After the war, Anna and Mundek stayed for some time in Berlin, where there was a Red Cross mission for people to try to find missing relatives.
In 1950 they came to Australia where Anna was set to make her mark on the fashion industry. She would go on to open the women’s boutique Anna Rich for Fashion and Quality in Eastwood.
Anna would often stage fashion parades to raise money for charities, Jewish and otherwise.
“She was never limited by racial or ethnic or religious boundaries. She believed there was good in everybody, and she wanted to give back to Australia because she loved Australia, and Australia had been so wonderful to her,” Eisman said.
“[She] was just a most non-judgmental, loving, kind, generous person – and there was no bitterness. I couldn’t understand it. I felt angry for her. But she just wanted to get on with it … She never saw herself as a victim; she was a survivor and a thriver.”
Anna, who was a resident of Montefiore Home in Randwick, is survived by daughter Sylvia, son Gregory, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Anna Reich passed away at the age of 94.