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

Blog Home > echoes of memory, volume 8

  • Coming to America

    Fifty years ago in May, I fulfilled my dream of coming to America.

    Tags:   marcel drimerechoes of memory, volume 8

  • Theodor Herzl: One Man’s Dream

    I recently attended the third annual gala of the Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces (FIDF), Washington, DC, chapter. It gave me great pride to see hundreds of people gathered there with the purpose of raising money for the IDF. I could not help thinking back to my childhood in the 1930s in Polana, Czechoslovakia. As Jews, we were content living in a democracy that gave us hope for a bright future. 

    Tags:   martin weissechoes of memory, volume 8

  • A Horse Named Fritz

    Martin Weiss was born in Polana, Czechoslovakia, and survived AuschwitzBirkenau and Mauthausen. He was liberated by US troops at the Gunskirchen camp in Austria 1945.

    Tags:   martin weissechoes of memory, volume 8

  • Memories and Defining Yourself

    In an interview at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum a few weeks ago I was asked, “Do your experiences in the Holocaust define you as a person?” Before writing about my answer to this question I would like to review some of my thoughts and questions about this matter. Do memories make us the person we are? Sometimes I have wondered if I would be a different person if I had not been born in Germany when the Nazis and Hitler came to power and when they immediately set out to implement anti-Jewish policies.

    Tags:   susan warsingerechoes of memory, volume 8

  • Hulda and Tante Anna

    I sometimes think about why I never met any of my grandparents. They lived in a small town in Poland called Kolomaya, which is now part of the Ukraine. My father told me that he left his family when he was 16 and immigrated to Germany because he did not want to join the Polish army. He acquired a job in a shoe store in Dusseldorf and made a life for himself. My mother also lived in Poland with her large family of seven brothers and sisters. She revealed to me when I was an adult, that since her family was poor and had many children, her mother gave her away to her well-off sister who lived in Viersen, Germany. This was my mother’s aunt and my great-aunt, Tante Anna. I was really astonished and had much compassion for my mother, because I had experienced this kind of separation from her during the Holocaust and I knew exactly what it felt like.

    Tags:   susan warsingerechoes of memory, volume 8

  • The Berlin Conference

    When I heard that the World Federation of Jewish Child Survivors of the Holocaust and Descendants Conference was going to be held in Berlin, Germany, I felt very ambivalent about going. I was hesitant because my memories as a child born in Bad Kreuznach, Germany, were still painful because of the atrocities that the Nazis committed there. I felt uncomfortable listening to the German language and was suspicious about Germans my age and older. When new acquaintances asked me where I was born, I usually responded that I had been living in Washington, DC, for a long time. Only if they pushed me and asked where I was born did I reluctantly tell them. I did not want them to think that Germany was my “homeland,” because I never thought that it was. On the other hand, I was enthusiastic about going to Berlin, because I wanted to confront these feelings and finally get over them.

    Tags:   susan warsingerechoes of memory, volume 8

  • American Friends Service Committee Refugee Case Files 7219 and 7321

    When the director of the OSE’s Chateau des Morelles children’s home in France called me to her office to tell me that our parents had found us and that my brother and I would be going to the United States, I was overjoyed and my entire being shook with anticipation of seeing my mother and father again. I had no idea when or how my parents had gotten to the United States from Germany.

    Tags:   susan warsingerechoes of memory, volume 8

  • One Good Day

    By train and boat, and other means, I arrived in Thorpe, Norwich, England, in June 1939 to live with the Harrisons. Mr. Harrison, Uncle Harry, read a sign on the bulletin board at the shoe factory where he worked, asking for families willing to take refugee children from Germany. I was just past my second birthday and had been brought from Germany by an organization called the Kindertransport. While I had three sisters, each living in separate places in England, I arrived by myself.

    Tags:   esther rosenfeld starobinechoes of memory, volume 8

  • My Last Vacation

    Every visit we made to the country of our birth, Poland, ended the same way. We always said, “We will probably not be coming back again.” There seemed no reason for another visit since whatever remnants of my family that survived the Holocaust did not live in Poland any more.

    Tags:   halina yasharoff peabodyechoes of memory, volume 8

  • Learning about the Holocaust

    It took many years before I learned about the enormity of the Holocaust, even though I had lived through it. I only knew my own story, which started when I was not yet seven years old. My first memory is losing my father when the war started in September 1939. The most prevalent feeling throughout my ordeal was fear, which increased as time went by and as I understood more clearly what was happening to us because we were Jews. My family was not observant, so my religion did not give me any comfort.

    Tags:   halina yasharoff peabodyechoes of memory, volume 8