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Lilly Shapell; Holocaust Survivor, Author

October 22, 1994

Lilly Shapell, a survivor of Nazi concentration camps who with her husband, Nathan--also a camp prisoner--helped document the ordeal in their 1974 book "Witness to the Truth," died Thursday.

A family spokesman said Mrs. Shapell was 75 and died in a Los Angeles hospital after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage.

A master of five languages, Mrs. Shapell was denied a doctorate degree from the University of Vienna when the Nazis invaded Austria. But in 1989, she received an honorary doctorate from Bar-Ilan University in Israel, one of the Shapells' many philanthropies.

After fleeing Vienna for Budapest, Hungary, she was sent to Auschwitz, but emerged as one of the rare survivors. She was an interpreter at some of the war crimes trials and met her future husband in Budapest. Their book developed from interviewing and helping many fellow Holocaust refugees rebuild their lives.

In 1951, the Shapells came to the United States, where Nathan began a development empire that was responsible for the construction of tens of thousands of California homes.

In addition to her work on behalf of Israel and the United Jewish Fund, Mrs. Shapell served on the board of the state Nursing Home Examiners.

Besides her husband, she is survived by a daughter, Vera, and three grandchildren.

Services are scheduled for Sunday at 2 p.m. at Hillside Memorial Park.

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