Born in Berlin in 1927, Engelina Billauer grew up with deaf-mute parents, a brother, and a sister. Her
life took a tragic turn when she was expelled from public school due to her Jewish heritage during
the rising anti-Semitic sentiment in Nazi Germany. In 1938, her brother tragically committed suicide in
the wake of the anti-Jewish laws, and Engelina witnessed the horrors of Kristallnacht (Night of
Glass), a turning point in her life. In 1942, Engelina, her family, and other Jews were arrested by the
Gestapo and taken to a local synagogue in preparation for deportation. It was in that moment of
uncertainty and fear that Engelina and her sister, Friedel, displayed immense courage, convincing an
SS officer of their Jewish heritage despite their blonde hair and blue eyes.