Ruth was born in Hamburg in March 1936. Following the devastating impact of Kristallnacht, her family decided that they should move to Holland.

At the age of six she narrowly escaped deportation when she and her brother Karel lived with a non-Jewish couple for a while. To hide her Jewish identity, Ruth assumed a new name. Under the pretence of being an orphan, she was taken to a gathering place and hidden overnight in a sand pit to avoid being listed by the Germans to be taken away. Ruth later contracted polio which forced her to become separated from her brother, while she was admitted to hospital.

She married Werner Lachs in August 1962 having met in Holland but settling in Manchester. They have three children, Joanne, Sharon, and Martin.

Ruth worked in cervical screening at The Christie Hospital and later at Tameside General Hospital. Ruth has spoken to many schoolchildren over the years about her experiences of the Holocaust.


“It soon became clear that our family had to go into hiding. In our apartment we had two attic rooms…At night, when the Germans rounded up Jews, we hid there and couldn’t hear them ringing our bell.”

“One morning, after about nine months, there was a knock at our door, and a Nazi officer took my brother, Tante Annie and me to prison where we were interrogated.”

“I stayed in the children’s home until after the war. I remember relatives coming to collect the other Jewish children, but no one came for me. I was devastated, as I believed my parents must have died.”