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

Blog Home > echoes of memory, volume 7

  • Going Back

    My long-term memory is full of blanks. I had hoped that revisiting the places of my childhood would help bring back some of the memories, but this has not happened. Until age seven, I lived in Zaleszczyki, Poland (present-day Ukraine), a small historic vacation town on the frontier with Romania. The town was very picturesque and almost completely surrounded by the Dniestr river, which served as the natural border between Poland and Romania.

    Tags:   halina yasharoff peabodyechoes of memory, volume 7documenting the holocaustjewish communities before the warmass shootingoccupationmemorials

  • Remembrances of a Hidden Child

    I was six years old and playing with several boys my age on the sidewalk across the street from the droguerie run by Mrs. Vanderlinden. Out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of a man in a cassock entering the store. For the briefest moment I wondered what a priest might want to buy in a droguerie, a store in which only household cleaning products could be purchased. Before the Vanderlindens, who were hiding me, moved into the center of Brussels, they lived in an area called Bon Air on the outskirts of the city where I attended a nearby Catholic school. Although they had been nice to me, priests and nuns still made me feel uneasy.

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  • The Midland Hotel

    It was August 1945, the month I celebrated my eighth birthday. My parents, my sister, Rosi, my brother, Mani, and I were on vacation at the seashore in Belgium. We were staying at the Midland Hotel, a small, three-story building separated from the dunes and the sea by the main coastal highway. Very few other guests were staying at the hotel. 

    Tags:   harry markowiczechoes of memory, volume 7aftermath of the holocaustbelgiumlife after the holocaustfamilymemory

  • Gitele

    In September 1938, when I was one year old, my family left our home in Berlin and crossed the border into Belgium. Although we had entered Belgium illegally, we were given residency permits; however, my father was not allowed to work legally. So he traded in foreign currencies, such as US dollars and British pounds, on the black market.

    Tags:   harry markowiczechoes of memory, volume 7belgiumdeportationjewish councilsoccupationmemory

  • Dunkirk: May 1940

    Following the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, Britain and France declared war on Germany. The British Expeditionary Force was posted at the French-Belgian border to prevent Germany from invading France. Between the two world wars, France had built the Maginot Line—formidable fortifications along its border with Germany. On May 10, 1940, Germany invaded the neutral countries of Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands in order to bypass the Maginot Line and to invade France where its defenses were weakest. British troops then moved into Belgium to try to stop the German advance toward France.

    Tags:   harry markowiczechoes of memory, volume 7belgiumfrancerefugeesmemoryparents

  • A Bedtime Story

    During World War I, Germany invaded neutral Belgium with the intention of eventually conquering Paris. Major battles took place on Belgian soil and the country was left in ruins at the end of the “Great War.” Remembering the atrocities committed by the Germans during that war, most Belgians hated the “Boches” even before their country was invaded once again by Germany on May 10, 1940. Partly because of that, many Belgians were willing to help Jews, although the penalty was death or deportation to a concentration camp.

    Tags:   harry markowiczechoes of memory, volume 7belgiumdeportationsgestapolettersmemory

  • Purple Oleander

    Selma was my best friend. She spent three years with my family and me in hiding in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, during the Holocaust, from 1942 to 1945. The last time I saw Selma was five and a half years ago.

    Tags:   louise lawrence-israëlslouise lawrence israëlsechoes of memory, volume 7friendsmemory

  • My Friend Lola

    A new year of uncertainty had just begun, 1945. It would be another year of hunger, pain, and misery. As I contemplated our future with my best friend, Lola, I wondered how much longer we could endure the brutalities. I could sense from the expression on her face that she was more concerned about the immediate, the present moment. She had not been feeling well for several days but did not dare complain, nor go to our camp doctor. In a labor camp there is no room for the sick or those unable to work.

    Tags:   manya friedmanechoes of memory, volume 7liberationravensbrückfriendsmemory

  • The Encounter

    Some time ago I was approached by one of the Museum’s personnel and asked if I would meet the then-minister-president from Brandenburg State in Germany. He was coming to observe the Days of Remembrance, to read some names in the Hall of Remembrance, and to light a candle. I agreed. But from that time on, hardly a day passed by without my wondering about meeting (with trepidation) the German official. How would I react meeting someone from the German government?

    Tags:   manya friedmanechoes of memory, volume 7ravensbrückdays of remembranceburden of memoryvolunteering at the museum

  • The Award

    I was recently quoted by a young columnist from a local newspaper, saying that I will speak to anyone who wants to listen and even to those who don’t want to listen. But when I was asked to speak to a Rotary Club in Virginia I was curious to find out first about their organization, what they represent and what their purpose is, before I accepted their invitation. I had no previous knowledge about them, and since this was not arranged by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, I had to do my own research.

    Tags:   manya friedmanechoes of memory, volume 7life after the holocaustmemory