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

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  • An Ominous Night Call

    About two weeks after Kristallnacht, my father and I returned to our house in Bremen. During that fateful night, my father had fled over the roofs and had been hiding with family in Hamburg. He was lucky, for if he had been found at home, he would certainly have been taken and sent to a concentration camp like my brother and all other men. I had met my father again in Hamburg when I was released from imprisonment in Würzburg.

    Tags:   rabbi jacob g wienerrabbi jacob g. wienerechoes of memory, volume 3

  • Negotiating with the Gestapo

    After Kristallnacht, I returned to my hometown in Bremen, in northwest Germany. A number of Jews had been released from concentration camps. I had been set free after eight days of imprisonment. I was then in Würzburg, Bavaria, where I had gone to school. The Nazis called these arrests “protective custody.” From whom did we need protection?

    Tags:   rabbi jacob g wienerrabbi jacob g. wienerechoes of memory, volume 3

  • An Unexpected Letter

    It was the summer of 1997 when I received an unexpected letter and a picture from a former non-Jewish playmate. The picture had been taken by a street photographer and was of a group of neighborhood youngsters near where we lived in Bremen, my hometown. We boys were then about 10 or 15 years old. It was taken shortly before Hitler came to power, when Jewish and non-Jewish children still played together.

    Tags:   rabbi jacob g. wienerrabbi jacob g wienerechoes of memory, volume 3

  • Accepting History: Return to Adelsheim, the Second Time

    The letter had been sent to Bertl, my sister, by Reinhart Lochmann in September 2000. In his letter he described the special program he was planning to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the deportation of the Jews from Adelsheim and Sennfeld, Germany, to camps in southern France.

    Tags:   esther starobinesther rosenfeld starobinechoes of memory, volume 3

  • First Impressions Sometimes Lie

    I stood at the front of the classroom facing my students, who were themselves teachers within the same school district as I was—Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland. They had enrolled in the summer in-service class for teachers to study the history of the Holocaust, as well as to learn methods for teaching this history to their own students when they returned to their classrooms the following fall.

    Tags:   flora singerechoes of memory, volume 3

  • What Mattered Most

    My sister Tia came home from work ill. She couldn’t even eat the soup that Mama prepared for supper. We were putting thin slices of potato on her forehead to bring down her fever—precious potato slices that should have been put in the soup instead.

    Tags:   charlene schiffechoes of memory, volume 3

  • That First Day

    I don’t remember the name of the displaced persons camp, or which country I was in, but I do remember that first day.

    Tags:   charlene schiffechoes of memory, volume 3

  • For a Rainy Day (Men Zol Nit Bedarfen)

    I still hoped that Mother would show up in one of the forests that abounded in that area of Poland. It was autumn of 1942. At that time I believed that this nightmare was temporary, and that any day I would find Mama. Had I thought differently, I would have given up.

    Tags:   charlene schiffechoes of memory, volume 3

  • The Invitation

    The sound was unlike anything I’d ever heard. Bewildered, I spun around and became alarmed. A burly man about my age appeared to be having a convulsion. Steadying himself against the Information Desk, he was sobbing uncontrollably, his face crimson and contorted.

    Tags:   pete philippsechoes of memory, volume 3

  • I Never Knew Their Names

     I am a Holocaust survivor. I lived through a ghetto, a concentration camp, several labor camps, and a death march. When I share memories of those four years, people from the audience ask questions.

    Tags:   nesse godinechoes of memory, volume 3

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