Bella Varkel was born in Vilna in 1926, and was educated there. She spent much of the war years imprisoned inside the Vilna Ghetto as a slave labourer. When the ghetto was liquidated, she escaped into the forests and joined the partisan forces. After liberation, she lived in Italy before coming to South Africa in 1948. Bella passed away in February 2013, and left behind four children, twelve grandchildren and sixteen great grandchildren spread across America and South Africa.
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