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

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  • Onward to America: A New World

    The children boarded the train and they all began chattering even as the wheels began to turn. The train made a stop in Madrid to collect several additional children. Some of the young passengers had been with me at the Hospicio (orphanage) in Gerona and in Caldas de Malavella, and it was good to see Georges again. Jacques Rusman, a Southern French Jew from the city of Montauban, came aboard in Madrid along with Daniel Rosenberg. Other children that were placed with the group included Georgette and Pauline Wolman, as well as Israel and Rachel Lucas.

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 11michel margosis

  • The Staircase

    In the last eight months before we were liberated, plane traffic over Holland increased a lot. Most planes were bombers originating in Germany, flying over Holland to reach England to bomb British cities. Or our Allies came from England and also flew over Holland to reach Germany and bomb German cities.

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 11louise lawrence israëlslouise lawrence-israëls

  • A Special Moment

    Sidney and I left for Israel to celebrate the bar and bat mitzvah of two of our grandchildren, Benjamin and Rebekah: a joyous occasion and hopefully a learning experience. Our daughter Naomi did not finalize the ceremony of coming of age for her children until about eight months before. Neither of the children have any Jewish education, and they do not belong to a synagogue. Frankly, I think she made the arrangements to please her parents and especially me, with my background.

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 11louise lawrence israëlslouise lawrence-israëls

  • Visit to L’viv: Janowska

    October 15, 2013, was the first time I had stepped on the soil of L’viv in 68 years. I was born here in 1941. I was hidden here—first in a bunker in the barn of my dziadzio (grandpa in Polish), next in a tunnel bunker in the Borszczowice Forest, along with 30 or so other Jews. Later, I was hidden in the home of the Schwarczynskis, a retired Polish Catholic engineer and his wife. I was the “niece” of their housekeeper, Lucia Nowicka (later she became my babcia, or grandmother).

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 11julie keefer

  • Rex—A Pet?

    It is early spring of 1944. I am three years old and living in the home of the Schwarczynskis at 78 St. Sophia Street in Lwów, Poland. My pretend “aunt,” Lucia Nowicka—the Polish Catholic woman who saved my life—is their live-in housekeeper. Rex is the Schwarczynskis’ dog. I cannot really call Rex a pet; he is a guard dog—a huge and ferocious German shepherd. His sharp white teeth and the drool from his mouth glisten in the sun. He barks at Nazis. Because the Nazi governor lives next door to the Schwarczynskis and has Nazi guards and soldiers lined up at his front door, Rex barks constantly. His bark is a deep-throated, menacing growl. Even the Schwarczynskis are intimidated by him. He is kept outdoors on a metal chain. His food and water are shoved to him with a long pole.

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 11julie keefer

  • What You Do Matters: A Letter to My Family

    I have been planning for a while to share with you some of the emails, cards, and Facebook postings I receive after I lead a tour at the Museum or give a speaking engagement. I have been reluctant to share the feedback because it might seem boastful, like I’m bragging or self-aggrandizing. I only got over my reluctance very recently after the Kennedy Center cast of An American in Paris (more than 30 people!) came to the Museum and another survivor, Marty Weiss, and I gave them a tour. They were the most attentive and responsive group I have ever led on a tour. They were the friendliest, most down-to-earth people you have ever met, without any celebrity attitude. 

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 11peter gorog

  • Enduring Melodies

    If someone could grant me one wish, I would ask, without hesitation, for perfect pitch. The people I envy are the ones who can play music by ear. I love music and would love to be able to play an instrument, any instrument. Although if a second request would be honored, my choice of instrument would be cello or maybe clarinet. 

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 11peter gorog

  • Did Your Mom Pray during the Holocaust?

    “Did your mom pray during the Holocaust?” asked an 8th-grade student after one of my presentations at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. I was surprised hearing this question, and while I tried to compose my answer, I also tried to figure out what prompted her to ask it.

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 11peter gorog

  • The Aftermath: Right after Liberation, Silence Begins

    On April 28, 1945, in Garmish Parten Kirchen, Germany, the 179 Hungarian women had 179 opinions of their whereabouts, what to do, and where to go. My mother, sister Shosha, and I looked at one another, cried, hugged, and declared that we had made it in spite of all that we had gone through. In spite of the Nazis’ intentions and efforts. We were relieved that we did not have to be part of the forced death march any more. Our strength had been spent, and we just wanted to sit down due to exhaustion. I knew that if I would have had to march for one more day, I would not have remained alive. 

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 11agi geva

  • Leaving Home: June 14, 1943

    It was a beautiful summer morning with no sign of rain so I thought it would be a good idea to go swimming at Tapolca. I phoned a few friends to join me. Even Shosha, my-12-year-old sister, wanted to come, which was unusual as she did not like to be with my friends so much.

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 11agi geva