THE family of a Holocaust survivor who went to live near Chepstow has paid tribute to "a loving grandmother and a great friend to many" following her death.

Mady Gerrard survived the infamous Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen concentration camps during the Holocaust.

She passed away peacefully at her home in St Arvans, Chepstow, on Saturday, October 16, aged 91.

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Speaking to our sister title, the South Wales Argus last year, Ms Gerrard recounted her experiences.

“In 1944, at 14 years old, I was deported from my native Hungary to Auschwitz," she said.

“I was engaged to be married to the love of my life. He was to be a doctor and I was to be an art historian, but that wasn’t what Hitler had planned for us.

"We arrived in Auschwitz on July 8. It was hell.

“On Sunday, April 15 in 1945 I noticed a Jeep was coming and I knew it wasn’t a German one.

“Two days later we were moved to a place which was used during the war as a SS youth training camp. That was the end of the war.

“I returned to Hungary to look for my father, but he had died in Auschwitz. I stayed in Hungary for 10 years and it was 1956 by the time I left for Britain."

Ms Gerrard's granddaughter Saskia Bannister said her grandmother, who worked as a fashion designer, loved living in the south of Wales.

"It was her home," she said.

"She had a very big heart."

Ms Bannister described her grandmother as someone who "lived life to the complete full".

"You could never describe her as a little old lady," she said.

"She was young spirited and really loved people.

"She was like a best friend and a grandmother.

"One of a kind – so stoic and strong."

READ MORE: Welsh veterans recall Normandy landings

Ms Bannister spent a lot of time with her grandmother during the pandemic.

"She found it all a bit unnerving," she said.

"We loved her very much.

"She had a wonderful relationship with so many and was greatly loved by all.

"She was a small giant of a woman."

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