Read reflections and testimonies written by Holocaust survivors in their own words.
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My Sister Irena
October 7, 2022
My sister, Irena, was born on the 4th of July 1936. As a child she was blond and blue-eyed. Her nickname is Mila, which in Polish means nice. Mila and I had an idyllic childhood, playing together at the grounds of the lumber factory where my father worked.
The First Few Days
November 1, 2015
Germany attacked Russia on June 22, 1941, even though the two countries signed a pact of nonaggression in August 1939. The attack was code named Operation Barbarossa; it was the largest invasion in the history of warfare. Many Russian generals did not trust Germany and tried to convince Stalin to prepare for an attack. Stalin did not believe the generals and in his paranoia, ended up “eliminating” most of these generals. So when Germany attacked, Russia’s armed forces were not prepared. They retreated in disarray, while the loudspeakers continued to blare patriotic, heroic music and reported victories of the Red Army against the invaders.
Coincidences of Life
November 1, 2011
I was seven years old when the German army entered our town, Drohobycz, in Soviet Ukraine on July 1, 1941. Immediately they started persecuting Jews by indiscriminately robbing and killing us, forcing us to wear armbands with the Star of David, and confiscating our arms, radios, gold, etc. They encouraged Ukrainian thugs to enter Jewish homes, beat up the inhabitants, and take whatever they wanted. In fact, it did not take much encouragement. My maternal grandfather was one of the victims of the beatings and died a few days later.