Read reflections and testimonies written by Holocaust survivors in their own words.
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A New Era Arrived
November 13, 2018
In 2011 I was surprised to get an email from someone in Philadelphia asking me to get in contact with a Mr. Thomas Walther, an attorney in Germany. He was one of two main prosecutors of World War II criminals active at that time. When we finally talked, he asked me if I would be willing to join a group of Auschwitz survivors who were being asked to fill out testimonials stating that Oscar Groening had been the bookkeeper in Auschwitz during the time I was there. He did not promise a positive outcome of the trial but promised that they would put their best effort forward.
November 1, 2017
My paternal grandfather was a tall, kind, handsome man with a sweet smile and a beautiful beard. I was about seven years old when he died, but my memory of his funeral is very clear. The whole street was full of people paying their respects to him. He was an ombudsman after he retired from his business career. My grandmother was not very tall. She was also always smiling, but she was a very strict woman who also had her own business. We spent all the holidays at my grandparents’ table. The extended family was large, and so was the table.
November 1, 2017
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.
The Violins of Hope
November 1, 2016
One of my best friends, Jeanne Rosenthal—the viola player in one of my quartets that performs on International Holocaust Remembrance Day—told me of an exhibit in Cleveland, her hometown, of violins that were found after World War II. Those violins had belonged to Jewish musicians whose lives ended in the gas chambers after the Germans stole their instruments.
A Letter to My Brother, Moshe
November 1, 2013
I’m writing this letter to you even though I know you will never read it.
November 1, 2011
I was born in Mukacevo, Czechoslovakia. My family was a close and warm family. They took care of each other and lived intertwined lives. My uncle lived right next door to us with three cousins. My grandparents lived nearby and after my grandfather died, my grandmother came to live with us. Other family members, living in towns farther away, would come to visit once a month.
Summer of ‘42
October 19, 2008
For many baby boomers out there, the movie was a defining moment of adolescence. This new musical version is funny, wistful, and entertaining from start to end. I hope you’ll join us to relive your youth, or to experience for the first time this portrait of a young man growing up just a bit too fast.
Opera in Auschwitz
October 19, 2008
There were arias from La Bohème, Tosca, Madame Butterfly, and many more that I had heard one memorable Sunday afternoon in Auschwitz.
A Headstone in the Air
September 17, 2006
The Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia—acres of land located on the Wilmington River—is visited every year by thousands of tourists. It is a unique burial place dating back to the 18th century. In addition to the famous Georgians that are interred there, there is an unusual collection of statues telling the story of the people whose graves they adorn as well as an assortment of mausoleums and headstones. The most touching are the statuettes on the graves of young children. One reads: “Papa’s Sweetheart.” The moss-draped mighty old oaks stand erect protecting the elegant statuary and headstones. The cemetery is on the National Registry of Historic Places.
The Light Blue Ensemble
September 21, 2003
Every time Helena, or Heleneke, as she was called by everyone in the family, wore her light blue ensemble, I was filled with envy. I loved the dress and the cape she wore over it. My favorite part of the dress was the skirt, which fluttered up and outward when Heleneke twirled round and round. When she wore the cape she looked regal, like a real princess. Heleneke had many beautiful dresses; I did not.