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

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  • My Mother

    Of all the people to whom I owe for the fact that I am alive today, there is one I want to single out: my mother. She was no taller than five feet, and she was nothing but love. She also had more than her share of suffering. One of seven siblings (two of which died at a young age), she lost her father when she was only 11. This loss left her own mother to struggle with raising the children.

    Tags:   albert garihechoes of memory, volume 9

  • Flory

    I first met Flory Jagoda in 2001 when she founded our Ladino group, Vijitas de Alhad (Sunday visits). I was one of the very first members of that group, and I was immediately seduced by her charm. She was an approximately 80-year-old lady, a native of Bosnia who moved to the States after marrying a young US Army officer in 1945. Flory was a young bride whose wedding gown was made from a parachute. A singer and composer, Flory wrote “Ocho Kandelikas” (Eight candles)—the famous song that celebrates Hanukkah. I started to attend our monthly visit assiduously, and it was like love at first sight.

    Tags:   albert garihechoes of memory, volume 9

  • True Faith

    In October 1944, my mother and sister were killed in the Massacre of Stare Hory, in the mountains of Slovakia. I was wounded and left staring at my dead mother, who lay on her back with her eyes open. I could not understand why she was not getting up. A Jewish partisan, Henry (Adam) Herzog, took me away, promising that my mother would join me later. He took me to his unit, but quickly realized that a wounded child is a liability to a fighting unit. So, after seven days, he brought me to the village of Bully and left me in the house of Paulina and Jozef Striharzsik, promising them a reward if they kept me or death if they did not. Given that choice, they kept me.

    Tags:   gideon friederechoes of memory, volume 9

  • The Violins of Hope

    One of my best friends, Jeanne Rosenthal—the viola player in one of my quartets that performs on International Holocaust Remembrance Day—told me of an exhibit in Cleveland, her hometown, of violins that were found after World War II. Those violins had belonged to Jewish musicians whose lives ended in the gas chambers after the Germans stole their instruments.

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 9jacqueline mendels birn

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