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

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  • Life in the DP Camps

    Life in the displaced persons camps gave people hope, for the first time, since they left their home. Almost every person there had lost parents, siblings, extended family, and many friends. As people started to feel better, they embraced life with zest. Though they had been dehumanized, sick and at death’s door, many started to marry. In the camps, they made wedding dresses from any material they could find, even parachutes.

    Tags:   martin weissechoes of memory, volume 6displaced persons campslife after the holocaustimmigration

  • From Ashes to Life

    After liberation from the concentration camps in 1945, survivors stranded all over Germany and Austria were able to go to displaced persons camps set up by the Allies to be deloused and fed. Thousands of people couldn’t digest the food provided and died immediately. I got some of my strength back in one of these Allied camps and I was anxious to go home to search for family members. Then I heard that many people who returned to their countries of origin in Eastern Europe were not welcomed—in some cases Jews were even murdered as they returned. As a result many people decided to stay where they had been liberated.

    Tags:   martin weissechoes of memory, volume 6displaced persons campsgunskirchenlife after the holocaustantisemitismimmigration

  • The Tray

    Six yellow flowers, four rather aged pieces of vanilla cake, three cookies of different designs that had been around for quite a while, a few pieces of candy that had wrappers with French writing in large red and blue letters, five dates stuffed with coconut, and several doilies cut out of paper napkins daintily peeking out below the delicacies were all lavishly laid out on a tray that had been used many times. It came out of the old kitchen of the Chateau de Morelles. This brown tray, so caringly decorated, was placed on my bed before I woke up early on my tenth birthday.

    Tags:   susan warsingerechoes of memory, volume 6schoolsfriendslettersparentsmemory

  • The Errand

    The park, which housed a small museum and a caretaker’s cottage, could be entered by walking down a short concrete staircase. It was located across the street from our home and stood between us and the small shopping area of our town. It was a shortcut for me every time my mother asked me to go to the store for some item to prepare our dinner. The errands were of great value for me because they were my first forays into the world. I was doing something that an adult does by having the responsibility of taking care of my family. So it was always with great pride that I strolled through the park, with Phennigs in hand, to accomplish what was needed to nourish my parents, my brothers, and me.

    Tags:   susan warsingerechoes of memory, volume 6anti-jewish legislationantisemitismmemorygermany

  • The Kiddush Cup

    It was always the same. Ushering the Sabbath, my father held the silver kiddush cup in the flat palm of his hand with his thumb resting against the brim of the cup, his head held high, eyes half closed as he recited the blessing over the wine. We all took a sip from the cup. That, together with all the other festive traditional activities, was carried out in proper order. Any bystander would have thought this was just an ordinary Friday night in a Jewish home. So it would have seemed. But I am sure that both our parents’ hearts were breaking. My sister and I were leaving for England on the following Tuesday. This would be our last Sabbath dinner together. Although we thought that we would soon be reunited, our parents knew the difficulties that lay ahead. And indeed, it was the last Sabbath meal we shared.

    Tags:   alfred traumechoes of memory, volume 6parentsmemorylife after the holocaustviennaholidays

  • The Last Letter

    The last letter my parents sent from the camps in France arrived in May 1942. My sister, Bertl, held on to this letter and the others from our parents for 68 years. When she came to live in Washington, DC, in 1947, the letters traveled with her. Bertl has held on to the letters through all her moves in the DC area.

    Tags:   esther starobinechoes of memory, volume 6letterslife after the holocaustdocumenting the holocaustparents

  • Aunt Hannah

    Yet again I had to go to the post office to retrieve the package from our Aunt Hannah. How embarrassing! The package was none the better after its trip from London to Washington, DC. I had to take the bus with my high school classmates to reach home. Hanging out from the package were arms and legs—yes, several—of woolen underwear. What was Aunt Hannah thinking? No one wore such items in America. How could she think my sisters and I would need them?

    Tags:   esther starobinechoes of memory, volume 6kindertransportunited statesfamilymemory

  • Kasia

    Dawn came much too early that day. I was returning from the forest after spending all night looking for food in a neighboring village. I didn’t find much—just some cucumbers and one tomato. Now it was getting light and I still had about a mile to go to reach the darker, safer forest. I walked as fast as I could, considering my blistered feet, and the forest gave me relative cover. Darkness was my only shield and protection. Walking in an open field was dangerous.

    Tags:   charlene schiffechoes of memory, volume 6collaborationdenunciationhiding

  • Don’t Ask for Soap

    Charlene Schiff (Shulamit Perlmutter), from Horochow, Poland, survived the Holocaust by hiding alone in the forests near her home.

    Tags:   charlene schiffechoes of memory, volume 6ghettosforced laborcollaboratorsmemory

  • The Happiest Day in My Life

    Luckily, I have had more than one happy day in my life. One such day was when I visited Israel for the first time. I was excited and apprehensive about the trip because I knew so little about Israel. I wondered what the country looked like and how it would make me feel.

    Tags:   halina yasharoff peabodyechoes of memory, volume 6israellife after the holocaustfamilyrefugees

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