Read reflections and testimonies written by Holocaust survivors in their own words.
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A Moment of Great Joy
October 22, 2020
After two weeks of sailing on the Atlantic Ocean, the Serpa Pinto moved deliberately towards the shore of our new destination, the United States of America. The 50 immigrant children, including my brother Joe and me, were informed that early the next morning we would be cruising past the Statue of Liberty. The instructions were that we should be at the bow of the ship, on the port side, before 6 a.m. in order to obtain a good view. We understood that this statue was the universal symbol of freedom and represented the United States itself.
October 22, 2020
Yahrzeit is the Jewish yearly observance of a loved one’s death. Traditionally, we light a candle at home and recite the kaddish in the synagogue in their memory. I learned the words of the kaddish sometime in 1950 when I was eight or nine, shortly after my mother found out the precise date of my father’s death—July 25, 1945, which translated to the Hebrew date 15 Av—in what had been the Ebensee concentration camp. I have observed the ritual ever since. The kaddish makes no reference to mourning but is a reaffirmation of our faith in the Almighty despite our loss.
November 1, 2017
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.