Read reflections and testimonies written by Holocaust survivors in their own words.
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My Friend Lola
November 1, 2013
A new year of uncertainty had just begun, 1945. It would be another year of hunger, pain, and misery. As I contemplated our future with my best friend, Lola, I wondered how much longer we could endure the brutalities. I could sense from the expression on her face that she was more concerned about the immediate, the present moment. She had not been feeling well for several days but did not dare complain, nor go to our camp doctor. In a labor camp there is no room for the sick or those unable to work.
The Jewish Hospital in Bratislava
November 1, 2013
The hospital in Bratislava, where I spent a full year, from March 1946 to March 1947, recovering from tuberculosis (TB) on the spine, was a truly remarkably unique place. The doctors as well as the nurses were completely involved and interested in our cases. There were several other Holocaust survivors there, suffering from various types of TB and other ailments that had resulted from being in concentration camps.
November 1, 2011
Six yellow flowers, four rather aged pieces of vanilla cake, three cookies of different designs that had been around for quite a while, a few pieces of candy that had wrappers with French writing in large red and blue letters, five dates stuffed with coconut, and several doilies cut out of paper napkins daintily peeking out below the delicacies were all lavishly laid out on a tray that had been used many times. It came out of the old kitchen of the Chateau de Morelles. This brown tray, so caringly decorated, was placed on my bed before I woke up early on my tenth birthday.
Sorrow Follows Laughter
October 19, 2008
Whenever my children were having a good time, laughing their heads off, not responding even to my warnings to stop, I used to tell them, “You will see that in the end there will be tears!”
September 17, 2006
Just after the war started in the Netherlands in 1940, my parents moved to a house on a quiet tree-lined street in the town of Haarlem, about 15 miles to the west of Amsterdam. Life was as normal as you could expect under the circumstances: wartime, occupation, the persecution of Jews.
An Unexpected Letter
September 18, 2005
It was the summer of 1997 when I received an unexpected letter and a picture from a former non-Jewish playmate. The picture had been taken by a street photographer and was of a group of neighborhood youngsters near where we lived in Bremen, my hometown. We boys were then about 10 or 15 years old. It was taken shortly before Hitler came to power, when Jewish and non-Jewish children still played together.
The Reflection in the Window
September 8, 2005
On March 10, 1945, the Soviet Army found us in the barn. We had been there for three weeks. The Soviet soldiers told us that the Germans were losing the war, that the Nazis were retreating. They informed us that they had already found other camps and some survivors.
August 22, 2004
In the spring of 1943, three high school classmates and I became part of a work crew that, after air raids, tore down ruined buildings and cleaned the rubble from damaged structures. The members of the crew, Jewish husbands and sons of mixed marriages, came from all walks of life—a truly motley crew. They gave me an early course in human nature. Some of them I remember vividly.