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

Blog Home > echoes of memory, volume 9

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  • Life Is Good

    Ruth Cohen, from Mukachevo, Czechoslovakia, was first imprisoned with her sister in Auschwitz in April 1944, then several other concentration and work camps beginning in October of the same year.

    Tags:   ruth cohenechoes of memory, volume 9

  • Sense of Being Jewish

    From my earliest memories, I have always had a sense of being Jewish. My father, who had grown up as an Orthodox Jew, made sure we observed all the Jewish traditions. My mother, who wanted to please him, kept a kosher home. She prepared all the traditional dishes for the Sabbath, and we celebrated all the Jewish holidays with great enthusiasm. My brother and I accompanied my father to the synagogue almost every Saturday. It was there that I learned that it was important to pray to God and that God liked it when the Jewish men worshipped him.

    Tags:   susan warsingerechoes of memory, volume 9

  • Feeling Good

    Another year of observing the Days of Remembrance at our United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has just passed. The revered event that took place was not much different from other years except that I was there with my two brothers most of the time. On the morning of the first day of the DOR, my brother Joe and I attended a program on our Museum’s collection as well as the dedication of a display about the Shapell Collections, Conservation, and Research Center that is currently under construction. It was held in the Hall of Witness of the Museum. Other Holocaust survivors and I joined the Shapell family in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for this new center to be built. I was feeling good because my brother was in the audience and sharing this experience with me.

    Tags:   susan warsingerechoes of memory, volume 9

  • Bringing the Lessons Home

    When the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum first opened in 1993, there were no tours of the Permanent Exhibit. After my fellow survivor, Susan Berlin, and I came to volunteer at the Museum we wanted to conduct tours for the many high school students who visited the Permanent Exhibition. We met with three staff people in the Education Department and they gave workshops on how to conduct educational tours of the Permanent Exhibition for a few volunteers and some staff. This was a significant beginning for many tours to follow.

    Tags:   susan warsingerechoes of memory, volume 9

  • Vienna, Chanukah 1938

    The first day of Chanukah fell on December 23, just 42 days after the infamous Kristallnacht. That night, most of Vienna’s synagogues were torched, Jewish stores looted and decimated, many homes broken into and men beaten, and in some cases men arrested and taken to concentration camps. That night was still fresh in our memories when the decision was made, nevertheless, to go ahead with the Chanukah celebration and pageant for which so many of us had rehearsed.

    Tags:   alfred traumechoes of memory, volume 9

  • The S.S. Zion

    So this was it! I was finally on the way to realizing my dream. It had been six long years—army, merchant navy, college, assignments at sea, and more schooling—and all the time working toward a single goal. Those were the thoughts that echoed through my mind as we drove to the Manchester Airport. My whole family came to see me off—my sister, her husband, and the two boys all excited and wishing me well— as I embarked on my new adventure. It wasn’t a sad farewell. We all knew that we would see each other fairly soon.

    Tags:   alfred traumechoes of memory, volume 9

  • Lying

    I am not a good liar; my face gives me away. The best I can do is stay silent.

    Tags:   halina yasharoff peabodyechoes of memory, volume 9

  • Reunion in Ebensee

    It has been 15 years since I last visited the little town called Ebensee that is nestled high in the Austrian Alps and since I stood at the grave of my father and wept. I never knew my father because he, like my mother and two sisters, was taken from our home in Holland and deported when I was only nine months old. My mother survived, but my sisters and father did not. My sisters were killed in Auschwitz. And my father went from The Hague to Westerbork, to Vught, to Auschwitz, to Mauthausen, to Gusen, to Steyr, and finally to Ebensee. He survived the hardships of the camp but died two months later of what we were told was tuberculosis.

    Tags:   alfred münzerechoes of memory, volume 9

  • Days of Remembrance in Rymanow

    In August 2008, I took an unexpected journey into my family’s past. It began with an e-mail forwarded to me by the hospital where I worked. It was labeled “possible spam” and came from a Michal Lorenc of Rymanow, Galicia, Poland, and it read as follows: “I have very urgent information for Dr. Alfred Münzer. In his mother’s hometown Rymanow in Poland is organized the special celebration to honor the people who died in Holocaust. Could you give my e-mail to Mr. Münzer? I’ll send him more information. Sincerely, Michal Lorenc.”

    Tags:   alfred münzerechoes of memory, volume 9

  • Sunday Lunch at Charlotte’s House

    As a result of World War II, my few surviving relatives and their descendants ended up living in different parts of the world—some in Sweden; some in Venezuela; and others in Israel, England, Australia, and Canada. My parents, sister, brother, and I settled in the United States after the war. An exception to this pattern of leaving Europe to start a new life elsewhere was my cousin Charlotte, who spent part of the war in hiding, but returned afterward to her parents’ home in Noisy-le-Grand—a distant eastern suburb of Paris—and lived there nearly to the present day.

    Tags:   harry markowiczechoes of memory, volume 9

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