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

Blog Home > alfred münzer

  • Guests

    There is an ancient Jewish belief that there are seven imaginary, mystical guests, called Ushpizin in Aramaic, who visit families on Sukkot, the Festival of Tabernacles that commemorates the protection afforded by the Eternal as the Israelites wandered the desert. The guests, one for each day of the holiday, are said to be the biblical figures Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph, and David. Each is invited in turn, with a prayer formulated by 16th-century Kabbalists, to join the family in the sukkah, the temporary shelter built of natural materials that is at the heart of the holiday. 

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 11alfred münzer

  • A Life in a Box

    My family, what some might call my biological family, lived in a box: a box roughly the size of a shoebox but much more elegant, a powder-blue flip-top box adorned with pink lilacs that had been used to display high-end perfumed soap bars—Boldoot or Castella—in Mom’s cosmetics store. The box was filled with photographs that introduced me to a world inhabited, in addition to my mom whom I had gotten to know in the flesh, by a dad, sisters, grandparents, and aunts and uncles whom I would otherwise never have met. I don’t remember when Mom first introduced me to the family in the box. It certainly wasn’t immediately after we had been reunited. I wasn’t quite four and my mom’s sudden addition to the family I already had—Papa, Mima, Willie, Dewie, and Robby—was more than enough for me to deal with. But I did come to understand soon after, that I had two sisters, portrayed in large, colorized photographs that were displayed wherever Mom and I came to live in those early years after we were reunited. My older sister, Eva, wore a blue dress and held her favorite doll, and my younger sister, Leah, wore a cream-colored dress. Eva had a broad smile, and Leah was more serious, apprehensive even. I must admit that I was somewhat envious of the attention my mother and others paid to my sisters. 

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 11alfred münzer

  • 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

  • Reunion in Ebensee

    It has been 15 years since I last visited the little town called Ebensee that is nestled high in the Austrian Alps and since I stood at the grave of my father and wept. I never knew my father because he, like my mother and two sisters, was taken from our home in Holland and deported when I was only nine months old. My mother survived, but my sisters and father did not. My sisters were killed in Auschwitz. And my father went from The Hague to Westerbork, to Vught, to Auschwitz, to Mauthausen, to Gusen, to Steyr, and finally to Ebensee. He survived the hardships of the camp but died two months later of what we were told was tuberculosis.

    Tags:   alfred münzerechoes of memory, volume 9

  • Days of Remembrance in Rymanow

    In August 2008, I took an unexpected journey into my family’s past. It began with an e-mail forwarded to me by the hospital where I worked. It was labeled “possible spam” and came from a Michal Lorenc of Rymanow, Galicia, Poland, and it read as follows: “I have very urgent information for Dr. Alfred Münzer. In his mother’s hometown Rymanow in Poland is organized the special celebration to honor the people who died in Holocaust. Could you give my e-mail to Mr. Münzer? I’ll send him more information. Sincerely, Michal Lorenc.”

    Tags:   alfred münzerechoes of memory, volume 9