Read reflections and testimonies written by Holocaust survivors in their own words.

  • How to Educate the Young Generation About the Atrocities of World War II

    On May 19, 2014, there was an op-ed piece in The Washington Post written by Michael Gerson titled, “Teaching the Holocaust.” A boy who had his bar mitzvah was the grandson of four survivors. One of the grandfathers had said, when the boy was born, “Hitler, you bastard, I beat you.”

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 10jacqueline mendels birn

  • A Small Loss

    In 1939, when World War II started, my first loss was my father, who was caught by the Russian occupying forces as he was trying to return home. He was sent to Siberia for 20 years’ hard labor. That was only the beginning, but it was a very big loss.

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 10halina yasharoff peabody

  • Brothers

    Three years ago, I had a life-changing experience: I met a brother I never knew I had. His name is Arn Chorn Pond.

    Tags:   alfred münzerechoes of memory, volume 10

  • The Unspeakable

    At first, the Nazi occupation of Belgium did not seem so troubling to us because the German authorities didn’t start persecuting Jews until October 1940, almost six months after the invasion began on May 10, 1940. In addition, anti-Jewish laws were introduced gradually to avoid alarming the Jewish population, which might have provoked disobedience among Jews and opposition from Belgian authorities. The German leaders also wanted to avoid raising Belgian public opinion against them as happened during World War I.

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 10harry markowicz

  • On Becoming an American

    One bright spring day in 1956, my parents and I nervously faced a federal judge sitting in his private office in downtown Seattle, Washington. We were seated across from him at his desk. During the previous several months, the three of us had spent many hours studying a booklet in preparation for this day. The booklet contained questions and answers about the Constitution of the United States, the structure of the federal government, and some of the major historical events of this country. After asking us each several questions, easier ones for my parents, harder ones for me, the judge informed us with a very large smile that we had passed the test; he was ready to swear us in as naturalized citizens of the United States of America.

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 10harry markowicz

  • Decamping France

    During the invasion of Morocco and Algeria in Operation Torch, undertaken by the Allied Forces on the eighth of November 1942, German troops overran the unoccupied zone of France directly. The Nazi military finally and openly occupied the whole of metropolitan France in 1942 because of this new threat from the Allied invasion of North Africa. I found the sound of the Nazi boots marching on the Canebière terrifying, perhaps because the footwear worn by the German infantry were probably Knobelbecher, what are sometimes called jackboots. The standard version of the Knobelbecher in World War II had a leather sole with hobnails and a horseshoe heel.

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 10michel margosis

  • Money

    I was about 14 years old, and my mom still made all my clothes. The war had been over for 11 years, but the stores still did not have a good selection, and money was very tight. I was not upset because Mom always asked what I wanted. She designed and made the clothes; they were always pretty and made me happy. Mom found remnant pieces of good fabric in nice colors. I loved the color blue.

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 10louise lawrence israëlslouise lawrence-israëls

  • Refugees

    It is 1946 in the Robert Taylor Displaced Persons camp (DP camp, later known also as Delayed Pilgrims camp). I am five years old. I share one room in a wooden barracks with my Dziadzio and Babcia. It is winter. Snowflakes float gently to land on icy-cold mud. Babcia has bundled me in every warm garment she can locate, whether it fits or not. I wear two pairs of Dziadzio’s socks on my hands. They cover my arms to the shoulders as well as my fingers. I sport a pair of someone’s leggings rolled up several times. My feet are bundled in rags. A knitted wool cap kept in place by a heavy babushka completes this outfit.

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 10julie keefer

  • Bosnia, 2016

    In the summer of 2016, I went to Bosnia. I have been interested in Sarajevo for a long time.

    Tags:   louise lawrence israëlslouise lawrence-israëlsechoes of memory, volume 10