Renee Firestone

Renee was born in 1924 in Uzhhorod, Czechoslovakia, a territory that fell under Hungarian control in 1938.  Her father, who worked in the textile business, was allowed to keep his job, but her brother was arrested and sent to a forced labor camp. Following the Nazi occupation in 1944, Renee, her sister and parents were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Upon arrival, Renee was separated from her parents and sister.  At age 21, 13 months after Renee entered Auschwitz, she was liberated. Renee’s mother and sister, a victim of Mengele’s experiments, were both murdered in Auschwitz.

Her father survived but soon after died from tuberculosis. After the war, Renee reconnected with her brother, and in 1946 they enrolled in fashion school in Prague. Eventually, Renee married in Prague, and in 1948 immigrated to Los Angeles with her husband and daughter. Renee entered the fashion industry of Los Angeles, designing clothing for stores like Sacks Fifth Avenue. Renee’s work was featured in the “California’s Designing Women 1896-1986” exhibit at the Autry Center’s Museum of California Design.


Surviving the Holocaust: Stories of Life

An ongoing project of KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles
and Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust in Pan Pacific Park