A Wedding Dress that Saved a Woman from War

Related Story

FULTON - At Fulton's Presbyterian Manor, Anna Price is an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor. Most of the people who hug her have no idea the years she endured without an embrace.

"I hate it that my mother went through that. It just wasn't fair," Ellen Covington, Price's daughter, said.

"You had to meet Gestapo and every time them come them would beat the heck out of you. Call you 'pick' and blame us for war. I never declared war on them," Price said.

The year was 1939, just before the start of World War II and Hitler had authorized his commanders to kill: "Without pity or mercy, all men, women and children of Polish descent or language." Price was 13 and attending a worship service at her Catholic church in Poland. It's the last place she thought the Germans would come to take her.

"They said nothing...Up roush! Pigs! Get them in the truck and go! We was not human to them, we was no people," Price said.

Separated from her parents, brother and sisters, Price found herself alone at the Klandine Concentration Camp in Germany.

"My mom starved to death. My dad starved to death or was shot, how could you know?" Price said. "They was people scattered all over. You cry for momma, you're hungry and you wonder when you'll ever get something to eat."

Price said she spent five years doing hard labor in the concentration camp. Five years breathing iron dust. When the prisoners did eat, Price said it was often soup with discarded pig parts laced with iron shards.

"I remember I was sick, [they] beat the heck out of me, knocked me on the floor," Price said.

Years of abuse have weakened Mrs. Price, but on this day, she drew enough strength to tell us how near the end of the war she snuck away.

"We was free," Price said.

"They were digging holes cause they knew there were going to leave because the war was ending and they were going to kill everybody and bury them in that hole that they were digging. Mom figures out what was going on and she and her friend sneaked away," Covington said.

The war was ending and Sgt. Donald Price had come to Germany to help with the liberation when he met a 19-year-old polish girl named Anna Demkiew. After several months of courtship, they wed.

Material was hard to come by so Mr. Price had a dress made for his young bride out of fabric that was as meaningful as it was beautiful, parachute material.

Wanting to be far away from the trauma of the Holocaust, Mr. Price took his bride to the United States. If he were alive today, they would have been married 65 years.

"How good it is that she's here and that she married my dad," Covington said.

The parachute silk still shines, the very fabric that allowed soldiers to glide out of harm's way. For one Polish bride it also ensured a safe landing. While her parents died, Mrs. Price learned decades later that her brother and sister were alive. She reunited with them in the Ukraine in 2005. After more than 60 years of wondering what happened to her family, Ellen Covington said there were no words when they saw each other. Her mom simply hugged them and cried.