UMHS geriatric patient shares story of surviving the Holocaust in book “I Have to Survive”

“I remember my father saying after we left Lodz, ‘I have to survive the war. I have to survive the war.’ And this was in my head, you know. I felt I have to survive the war. And maybe this was the reason I really was strong, to tell myself, I have to do it, I have to do it.”

Miriam, her mother, and sister Lonya in Lodz, Poland

This is a powerful story of a young girl with a happy childhood whose life turns into a nightmare. Growing up in Lodz, Miriam Garvil studied French and dreamed of going to Paris to be a fashion designer. In 1939 she jumped from a crowded train headed for the gas chambers and went into hiding. By some miracle she lived through three concentration camps until liberated by British soldiers in 1945. This is her story about her childhood, the war, her marriage to Julian Garvil and her son George. It is a powerful story, one that will move readers to hope that what she lived through will never be allowed to happen again.

Miriam Garvil, 91, has lived in Ann Arbor since 1977.

Her book may be ordered from for $10. It will also be available on Kindle.

For more information, contact Ruth Campbell at