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Joe Holleman is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Noémi Ban survived Nazis and then escaped Soviets before coming to St. Louis and teaching school for 17 years.

Later in life, she became a respected author and lecturer about her family's ordeal during the Holocaust.

Ms. Ban died June 7 after a short illness in Bellingham, Wash. She was 96.

"Our hearts are broken,” the Bellingham Herald quoted Rabbi Joshua Samuels as saying during a memorial service. "Noémi’s life was simply remarkable. We will miss her sorely."

Born in 1922 in Hungary, Ms. Ban and her family were captured by invading Nazis in 1944 and shipped to the Auschwitz concentration camp — where her mother, grandmother, younger sister and baby brother were killed in the gas chambers.

Ms. Ban, however, was picked as a laborer and sent to the Buchenwald camp. Later, while later being forced to march to the Bergen-Belsen camp, she was rescued by U.S. troops. She returned to Hungary and married Earnest Ban, the Herald reported.

The couple fled Hungary when the Soviets occupied the country in 1956, ending up in St. Louis in 1957.

Ms. Ban earned an education degree in 1965 and began teaching sixth grade at Oakville Elementary School. (Earnest Ban, who died in 1994, taught math in Bayless schools.)

In 1980, Ms. Ban was named "Teacher of the Year" of the Mehlville School District and was runner-up for the Missouri Teacher of the Year honors. The couple retired in 1982 and moved to Washington, where one of her sons lived.

After her husband's death in 1994, Ms. Ban began giving talks about her Holocaust experiences.

In 2003, she wrote the autobiography "Sharing is Healing." Her life was the subject of a 2007 documentary, "My Name is Noémi."

Along with her two sons, Steven Ban and George Ban, Ms. Ban is survived by six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.