Soldier and the woman he helped save from a concentration camp celebrate their love

by Scott Douglas

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

Couple’s 71st Valentine Day together defies the hate and atrocities of the Nazis

Couple who survived Nazis to find love celebrate 71st Valentiene's Day together - captured in care PR photography

A COUPLE whose love blossomed amid the closing days of World War 2 are to celebrate their 71st Valentine’s Day together.

John and Edith Mackay met after his commando unit liberated her from a column of Jewish women being transported to a death camp.

Concentration camp survivor Edith – who was born in Hungary and is known as Eci – later met John following a celebration dance held in a local village hall for the liberated women.

Despite his heroic during the conflict, John, 96, told how he struggled to pluck up the courage to ask Eci to dance – so sent a pal to ask on his behalf.

However, Eci insisted she would only take to the floor with him if he asked her himself – an act of boldness on her part which the couple credit with helping the fall head over heels in love.

After the Allies pushed to a final victory over Hitler’s Nazi forces, the sweethearts travelled to John’s native Scotland. Eci later brought her mother to join them.

Wartime sweethearts celbrate 71st Valentine's Day TogetherThey were married on the July 17,  1946 and have been wholly dedicated to one another ever since. They have two children, daughter Sharon and son Peter.

Still inseperable, the couple are celebrating their first Valentine’s Day together at Bupa’s Balcarres Care Home in Broughty Ferry after Eci became a resident in 2015 with John joining her a year later.

The loved-up couple are keeping things relatively low key after over 70 years honoring the special day together, but John, ever the romantic, has still bought Eci several thoughtful gifts and a card. Staff at Balcarres will also be on hand to congratulate them and make the day one to remember.

The Dundee couple are perfectly placed to give lessons in love for Valentine’s Day hope their story can give couples of all ages some simple tips for a long and happy marriage: be romantic all year round, not just on February 14th.


Couple who survived Nazis to find love celebrate 71st Valentiene's Day together - captured in care PR photographyCheck out the full gallery of powerful PR photographs which captured the couple’s big day in a Bupa care home, arranged by the care PR experts at Holyrood PR in Scotland


John said that Valentine’s Day was not one that the couple chose to celebrate specifically, as instead they have always been romantic all year round, and still are to this day.

Pamela Shaw, Activity Coordinator at Bupa’s Balcarres Care Home, spoke of how John and Eci are still completely head over heels.

She said: “John is a true gentleman. He is always checking in to make sure Eci is happy and the pair still refer to each other as ‘sweetheart’ on a daily basis.

“Their devotion to one another is clear to anyone who spends even a short time in their company.

“John came to join us a year after Eci moved in, so it’s wonderful that they are both near one another again. Our main aim now is to ensure that they continue to enjoy a happy life together.

“We’re having a little party for all our residents this Valentine’s Day, so it’s lovely to have such a real example of true love with us at the home.”

Notes to Editors

About Bupa Care Services in Scotland

  • We have 30 nursing and residential care homes in Scotland, where we look after over 2,400 people.
  • Bupa Care Services employs over 3,400 people in Scotland.
  • Over 70% of our UK residents receive some form of state funding, either from local authorities or the NHS.
  • Bupa is a leader in dementia care. Bupa’s unique ‘Person First, dementia second’ training has been specially developed by Bradford Dementia Group at the University of Bradford.
  • Across the UK we look after 18,000 people working in almost 300 care homes across the UK.
  • For more information, visit bupa.co.uk/care-homes.

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Scott Douglas, of public relations agency Holyrood PR in Scotland

Scott Douglas

Scott Douglas is the co-founder of the multi award-winning Holyrood PR, renowned public relations agency in Edinburgh, Scotland.
As well as providing expert PR services in Scotland and the UK, the former journalist heads a team which offers a host of other professional media services.
Those include crisis management PR, photography for business PR, affordable business video, social media campaigns and strategic content planning and delivery for businesses of all sizes.

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