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

Blog Home > echoes of memory, volume 9

  • A Letter to the Late Mademoiselle Jeanne

    In the Permanent Exhibition at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, there is a plaque indicating that Jeanne Daman-Scaglione has been recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations. The plaque reads: “A Roman Catholic, Daman became a teacher, and later headmistress, of the Jewish kindergarten ‘Nos Petits’ in Brussels. When arrests and deportations of Jews began in 1942, she worked with Belgian and Jewish resistance units, helping to find hiding places for 2,000 children throughout Belgium. Daman also helped rescue many Jewish men about to be deported as slave laborers by obtaining false papers for them.”

    Tags:   harry markowiczechoes of memory, volume 9

  • In Transit, Spain

    We had been heading downhill for what seemed an unending ordeal, and as dawn at last approached, we quietly entered a town that was most assuredly asleep. Our guides led us into a tavern in the middle of Puigcerdà—just barely inside Spain—actually only about six miles southeast from our starting point. We gathered several chairs together as a barricade, in the main dining room of the inn, and immediately fell asleep behind them. When we awoke, daylight penetrated the inn through the window shutters, but the shop was closed with most of the chairs stacked upside down on the tables.

    Tags:   michel margosisechoes of memory, volume 9

  • The Sinaasappel

    I was in hiding for the first years of my life. There were five of us in hiding: my brother and I, my parents, and our friend, Tante Selma. My parents and Selma took very good care of my brother and me and gave us a lot of love. Since the adults never talked about our exceptional circumstances, we only knew what they told us, and we saw only what they showed us.

    Tags:   louise lawrence-israëlslouise lawrence israëlsechoes of memory, volume 9

  • May 1945 and May 2015

    The sun is warm and so bright. I can feel the warmth on my face. It feels good. The noises around me are different; I have not heard them before. I am a little afraid, but my brother is holding my hand and my parents are with us. We hear people talking. Some are singing. It sounds nice, but I do not understand what is going on around me. I do not hear the frightening noise of the alarm that always sounds before an airplane flies over. The airplanes make a noise that we do not like.

    Tags:   louise lawrence-israëlslouise lawrence israëlsechoes of memory, volume 9

  • Courage

    There are so many forms of courage in our lives. It starts when we are very young, for instance: taking that first step as a little child. Lifting one foot and standing on the other foot, putting the lifted foot forward and down to the floor, all the time trusting the foot and leg; will it hold me until the other foot helps support me again? Will I fall, or will it work out?

    Tags:   louise lawrence-israëlslouise lawrence israëlsechoes of memory, volume 9

  • In Hiding

    In the winter of 1943, Dziadziu learned that the Nazis were going to burn down the ghetto in Lvov where my mother, father, baby sister, and I were hiding.

    Tags:   julie keeferechoes of memory, volume 9

  • Did He Know I Was Jewish?

    A gentle breeze rustles the leaves. It is sunny and warm. The sun hits my face with a warm glow. Babcia (“Grandma” in Polish) digs for a potato or carrot in a picked-over patch of land. I scamper after her. I catch up with her, pull at her skirt to get her to play with me. She sighs, wrinkles her forehead, but agrees to pick dandelions with me. We both pick dandelions. She sits with me and makes me a wreath of dandelions. I wear it proudly. The smell of violets, wet leaves, and damp earth fills the air. Babcia continues to look for food. I try to follow her but my eyelids start to droop, and I begin to feel heavy; my steps become more and more sluggish. I fall asleep. Babcia goes back to the house. She stands outside with Mrs. Schwarczinski.

    Tags:   julie keeferechoes of memory, volume 9

  • The Death Certificate That Saved Our Lives

    Recently I heard someone saying that the Holocaust Museum, among many other things, is a grave for those who do not have a grave. I could immediately identify with the sentiment, because my father does not have a known grave that I am obliged to visit on his yahrzeit, the anniversary of a parent’s death in Jewish custom. As a matter of fact, we cannot even observe a proper yahrzeit because we do not know the date of his death.

    Tags:   peter gorogechoes of memory, volume 9

  • A Three-Year-Old Saves His Mother

    After my mother was miraculously released from the infamous Mosonyi Street Jail, we could no longer stay with our Christian host family, whose apartment was not in a building that was assigned to Jews and marked with a yellow Star of David. We could not afford to have another “good neighbor” denounce us again to the police.

    Tags:   peter gorogechoes of memory, volume 9

  • A Gravestone for Those Who Have None

    In 1964, the Cold War was alive and well, and travel from Hungary to Western Europe was still the privilege of world-famous performing artists—musicians, singers, and ballet dancers—as well as world-class athletes. However, travel restrictions from Hungary to other Communist countries had eased a little bit. One could apply for a one-time exit permit, and if the local chapter of the Young Communist Organization and the Trade Union gave a glowing endorsement, one could visit such coveted travel destinations as Romania, Bulgaria, or Poland.

    Tags:   peter gorogechoes of memory, volume 9