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

Blog Home > echoes of memory, volume 6

  • Revisiting Memories

    Early in 1942, when I wasn’t quite five years old, a German officer accompanied by two soldiers came to our apartment in Brussels. I remember being in the room that faced the street with my mother and the officer. The two soldiers were elsewhere in the apartment. The officer was searching through an armoire, possibly for foreign currency or other valuables, when the doorbell rang.

    Tags:   harry markowiczechoes of memory, volume 6

  • Liberation Day

    Four years go by before I see another British soldier. The last one had been near the French-Belgian border when the British Expeditionary Force was being evacuated from the nearby beaches at Dunkirk. Again I’m with my mother. Before leaving the apartment she has told me that the Germans have run away but I don’t understand where we are going and why my father is not coming with us. She tries to explain to me it has been two years since he has been outside and he is not ready to face people. Along the way, many people are rushing in the same direction. My mother too is in a hurry but we pass a burning tank and I stop to look at it. No one else pays any attention but I’m fascinated by the flames rising from the turret. My mother pulls me away and we merge with the people who are passing by us. We arrive in a park where we join a large crowd of cheering people.

    Tags:   harry markowiczechoes of memory, volume 6

  • Trust

    May 5, 1945—the war in Holland is over. My parents and Selma, our friend, are so happy. My brother and I understand that the atmosphere in our attic is changing, but we do not understand the exact reason for the smiles on the faces of the three adults. My dad is running to the cupboard to get our last tin of cookies. Those cookies have helped us during the hunger winter, when we did not have much to eat. Dad opens the tin and puts it on the floor, and he tells us we can eat as many cookies as we like. That is fun. With a cookie in each hand we do not know where to start. After one cookie we are not hungry anymore and we put the other cookies back for next time. This must be the meaning of peace, eating cookies, we think.

    Tags:   louise lawrence-israëlslouise lawrence israëlsechoes of memory, volume 6

  • Light

    Light is important in my life. We only have a dormer window, too high for a little girl to look outside. We get up in the morning when a strip of light shines through that window and when the window looks black, Mama quickly closes the blackout curtain and that is the time I love, watching Mama.

    Tags:   louise lawrence-israëlslouise lawrence israëlsechoes of memory, volume 6

  • The Kindnesses

    In June 1941, the Germans occupied Lithuania within three days. Shauliai, the town where we lived, was taken over on the third day. We had heard what had happened to the Jews in Kaunas and in other cities. My brother Jecheskel was a student at the university in Kaunas and he had told my parents that the Nazis and their collaborators were looting Jewish homes. Jecheskel suggested that my parents try to ask some of their Lithuanian friends to hold some of our valuable things for safekeeping. My parents asked a few friends and some agreed to help us.

    Tags:   nesse godinechoes of memory, volume 6

  • Mama Picking My Husband, Jack

    In January of 1945, we were lined up for roll call, expecting to go to work as usual. Instead we were ordered to get our blankets and our dish for food and to come back. As we stood there lined up five in a row, we were told that we were leaving the camp. We assumed that we would be going to another labor camp, but instead we started off on foot. Later this would be known as a “death march.” We marched through the towns and villages of Poland and Germany, leaving many women behind, some who died from exhaustion and starvation and some who were shot to death. We marched this way until the middle of February. We stopped then outside of a little town called Chinoff, where we were pushed into a barn. How many women were there I do not know. Many women died of typhus and hunger in that barn.

    Tags:   nesse godinechoes of memory, volume 6

  • Through a Wire Fence

    The news that something had happened at the packing station during my cousin’s shift made me rush to her barrack to find out if she was well. Though we were in the same camp, we seldom met each other because we worked on different shifts and were assigned to different barracks. Sometimes when I saw her returning from work, I did not recognize her because her face was a black mask. We worked in a factory that produced soot (carbon).

    Tags:   manya friedmanechoes of memory, volume 6

  • Deceptive Expectations

    For decades we survivors have been waiting for the release by the International Tracing Service (ITS) of the millions of records kept in Germany. The Nazis were very meticulous in keeping records of the countries they occupied and of the people whose fates they determined. They kept strict records of every person and event, of dates, and of the destinations of the people involved. We were anxious to get access to those documents to learn about the final fates of our lost dear ones.

    Tags:   manya friedmanechoes of memory, volume 6

  • My Grandfather

    I was very fortunate to have had a happy childhood. The memories of my childhood kept me going during the terrible war. My childhood was just beautiful. I received a great deal of love and caring from both my parents and grandparents.

    Tags:   erika eckstutechoes of memory, volume 6

  • Coming to the United States

    On April 16, 1957, my husband, Robert Kauder, passed away. He would have turned 37 on May 27, his next birthday. I lived in Prague had two children at that time—my daughter was ten and my son was five. Every day, after my husband passed away, I went for a walk and left my children with “Babinka” (grandma), who stayed with me. She was like a mother to me although she was not technically family. I did this for about a month. One day she told me that when I returned, the children would be in an orphanage. I hesitated for a moment and then left. Then I started to think about how she was not my mother, she was really a stranger to me and my children, and I could not believe that she would do this to me.

    Tags:   erika eckstutechoes of memory, volume 6