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

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  • My Mothers

    I have been an orphan since August 14, 1942, but I have never thought of myself that way. At the May 14, 2019, meeting for Echoes of Memory, the survivor memoir writing group, I listened to two people read their writings. Both writers talked about their mothers and specific actions their mothers had taken. One person spoke of all the actions his mother took to save him and the family. The other writer spoke of the ways his mother had made his childhood a time of happiness and encouragement. Both writings made me feel very sad. It has made me think of my mother, but I cannot remember her at all.

    Tags:   esther starobinesther rosenfeld starobinechoes of memory, volume 13

  • Interconnections

    I don’t remember when I first met my cousin Suse. Suse was the daughter of my Aunt Rosa, one of my father’s sisters. Once I was an adult, I visited Suse whenever I was in London.  It was always fun and very English, these visits. She and her husband, Frank Underwood, lived in a lovely section of London on the third floor of an apartment building. No elevator here, just a lot of stairs. Making tea was a definite ritual in their home but somehow very relaxing. The teapot had to be warmed as well as the cups. Suse was very exacting in all she did. When Suse developed diabetes, she carefully adapted her favorite cake recipes so that she could still eat them. The Underwoods loved to walk all over London and take walking trips in other parts of England. When my husband, Fred, and I visited, we often spent time with them walking in a nearby park.

    Tags:   esther starobinesther rosenfeld starobinechoes of memory, volume 13

  • Obligations

    My sister Bertl was always present in my life. Bertl was the person who guided our siblings and me to become a strong, cohesive family. She was opinionated and had a clear vision of what was right and wrong. Maybe it was her German birth. But she is gone now, as are my other three siblings. So, I ask myself, what are my obligations to keep the family strong and resilient? 

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 12esther rosenfeld starobinesther starobin

  • Writing as a Pathway

    I arrived in the United States on November 11, 1947. I was an unhappy child torn from my second home to come to a new land with family I hardly knew. My sister and I were met in New York by two uncles—one my sister knew from Germany and one an unknown American uncle. I knew neither. So I began my journey to becoming an American and eventually a Holocaust survivor.

    Tags:   esther starobinechoes of memory, volume 7

  • Closing the Circle

    For most of my life I was not very interested in learning more about our family in Germany. It was my past and it didn’t seem to matter to me. However, as I grew older, I would sometimes be at an event that brought to my mind something connected to my family or to the Holocaust—something as simple as people talking about their mother’s favorite recipe made me feel a need to return to Adelsheim to see where I was born, to know it was a real place. Fred and I visited there in the late 1980s, but I still felt no connection to the place. When we had extended family gatherings there were a few basic stories of life in Germany, before the Holocaust, that were repeated each time. But they seemed like legends.

    Tags:   esther starobinechoes of memory, volume 7

  • The Last Letter

    The last letter my parents sent from the camps in France arrived in May 1942. My sister, Bertl, held on to this letter and the others from our parents for 68 years. When she came to live in Washington, DC, in 1947, the letters traveled with her. Bertl has held on to the letters through all her moves in the DC area.

    Tags:   esther starobinechoes of memory, volume 6

  • Aunt Hannah

    Yet again I had to go to the post office to retrieve the package from our Aunt Hannah. How embarrassing! The package was none the better after its trip from London to Washington, DC. I had to take the bus with my high school classmates to reach home. Hanging out from the package were arms and legs—yes, several—of woolen underwear. What was Aunt Hannah thinking? No one wore such items in America. How could she think my sisters and I would need them?

    Tags:   esther starobinechoes of memory, volume 6

  • Summer of ‘42

    For many baby boomers out there, the movie was a defining moment of adolescence. This new musical version is funny, wistful, and entertaining from start to end. I hope you’ll join us to relive your youth, or to experience for the first time this portrait of a young man growing up just a bit too fast. 

    Tags:   esther starobinechoes of memory, volume 5

  • My Boots

    I love to look at the boots that are so stylish these days. There are so many different types but they all remind me of the little boots that are tucked away in a safe place in my home. My boots are brown and lace up the front. It is obvious that they have been worn a lot and patched again and again.

    Tags:   esther starobinechoes of memory, volume 5

  • Looking for My Father

    I know my father, Adolf Rosenfeld, was born in 1898 in Korb, Germany. Korb is a very small place. He apprenticed as a baker when he was a young teenager. During World War I he was in the army. During his service in the war he lost a leg. Consequently, when he returned to Korb after the war, he could not work as a baker.

    Tags:   esther rosenfeld starobinesther starobinechoes of memory, volume 4

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