A holocaust survivor who worked for the civil defence in Leeds after she was freed from a Nazi concentration camp has published a follow-up book about her life.
Iby Knill’s first book, The Woman without a Number, was published in 2010 and describes her time in a resistance movement during Second World War and her imprisonment.
Her new book, The Woman With Nine Lives, covers when she moved to England following the war and up to the present day.
She said: “It wasn’t my intention to write a sequel but the students to whom I now relate my story kept asking, what happened next.”
In the intervening years Iby penned many writings and essays. “I thought, it’s not going to take a lot of effort to put it all together – let’s do it,” she said.
“When I began piecing this volume together I suddenly realised there were so many different parts to it. It struck me why I adore cats – I too appear to have had nine lives.”
Iby was eventually freed by Allied Forces while on a march from the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp on Easter Sunday 1945.
In 1946, she married British army officer Bert Knill who had served in World War I and was 16 when he enlisted in the Gloucestershire Regiment, serving eventually in the Battle of Ypres. Iby became an interpreter for the British, coming to Leeds initially to do emergency planning in Leeds Civil Defence and, when that closed, went into the department of further education until retirement.
“I loved my time in Civil Defence. It was as if I was being paid to do what were my hobbies. I became a Yorkshire woman and made lifetime friends – life was rich and meaningful.”
The important thing for Iby was to come to terms with past events – the good ones and the bad.
She said: “There is only so much baggage one can carry around without it affecting your life.”