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

Blog Home > echoes of memory, volume 5

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  • A Student in a Nazi School

    I was born a few years before Hitler and his Nazi Party took control of Germany. At first, Jewish youngsters were still allowed to attend German public and high schools. But with Hitler assuming power in 1933, everything changed suddenly, immediately, unannounced.

    Tags:   rabbi jacob g. wienerrabbi jacob g wienerechoes of memory, volume 5

  • Going Home: Liberation, May 5, 1945

    We couldn’t believe that the Nazi soldiers hadn’t killed us. We never thought that we’d be free again. After we discovered that we were liberated from the Gunskirchen concentration camp in Austria, we found out that there had been orders to shoot us all, but the captain in charge had decided not to carry them out.

    Tags:   martin weissechoes of memory, volume 5

  • The Interpreter

    It looked like the Fourth of July from our attic window in a small village in France. Only it was not fireworks that were exploding in midair; it was bombs being dropped from German airplanes on our beloved city of Paris. We watched in awe at the spectacle that was being displayed in front of us. We were young children, and we could not imagine what was to come.

    Tags:   susan warsingerechoes of memory, volume 5

  • Belonging

    My biggest dream upon coming to the United States from France was to become an American citizen because I thought that if I was a citizen, all of my memories of the Holocaust would disappear.

    Tags:   susan warsingerechoes of memory, volume 5

  • Keep Off the Grass

    The moon glistened on the river Weser as our long column of Centurion tanks made its way back to our barracks at Luneberg. We were passing through Hamlin, the very same town that gained fame through the stories of the Pied Piper who rid it of a rat infestation many centuries ago. The street was lined with neat houses and manicured lawns to our right and the river to our left. We rumbled along, the tank tracks clattering on the cobbled streets and shattering the still of the evening. Here and there lights flickered on as homeowners drew back curtains to see what the noise was all about. We were not welcome guests there. It was late in the summer of 1952 and the conclusion of a month-long Rhine army maneuver.

    Tags:   alfred traumechoes of memory, volume 5

  • Summer of ‘42

    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. 

    Tags:   esther starobinechoes of memory, volume 5

  • My Boots

    I love to look at the boots that are so stylish these days. There are so many different types but they all remind me of the little boots that are tucked away in a safe place in my home. My boots are brown and lace up the front. It is obvious that they have been worn a lot and patched again and again.

    Tags:   esther starobinechoes of memory, volume 5

  • A Special Diet

    There are experiences in my life that are difficult to describe, experiences that were painful and repulsive, and this is one of them. I remember exactly when and how it happened. It was late autumn 1942 and my most recent search for food had ended badly. Nearing a village, I had managed to wake up seemingly every dog. A barrage of rifle shots accompanied the dogs for good measure. There was nowhere to hide. I escaped detection by running as if I had wings. Near the road, I spotted a well and jumped in. It took a full day for me to claw my way out. Having no choice, I returned to the forest where I had started.

    Tags:   charlene schiffechoes of memory, volume 5

  • The Girl from the Forest

    When I woke, I was in a real bed with clean sheets, a blanket, and a pillow. The last thing I remembered was being in my pit in the forest and getting sick. I wondered now if I was a prisoner. I wondered if I should try to escape. It was still dark, but soon dawn would come and it would be too late to try to run. Where could I go? I thought. I didn’t even know where I was. When daybreak arrived I realized I was in a hospital, but under whose jurisdiction I wondered. The attendants moved quietly, their muffled voices not clear enough for me to distinguish the language they spoke. If it was German I knew only that I would need to hide.

    Tags:   charlene schiffechoes of memory, volume 5

  • My Reason for Writing My Story

    My family came to Romania in 1931 from Znojmo in the Czech Republic when I was about three years old. My parents moved us to Stanesti, a town in the Romanian province of Bukovina where my paternal grandparents lived. My father told my grandfather that he wanted to take the whole family to Palestine and my grandfather said that it was a good idea but he would have to find someone who would take the cow, the horse, and the chickens. Father, unfortunately, could not find anyone. My family consisted of my mother, my father, and my older sister. A lawyer by profession, my father became the chief civil official of the town and we lived in the house assigned to him in that position.

    Tags:   erika eckstutechoes of memory, volume 5

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