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

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  • 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

  • To Save the World Entire

    Why was man created alone? Is it not true that the creator could have created the whole of humanity? But man was created alone to teach you that whoever kills one life kills the world entire, and whoever saves one life saves the world entire.
    —paraphrased from the Talmud

    Tags:   gideon friederechoes of memory, volume 7

  • Snippets from My Life, Unit 2: Coincidence to the Skeptics, Miracle to the Believers

    Oh, the hierarchy of fear. There are many dangerous people outside the house, and one has to recognize who they are. The least dangerous are the Wehrmacht1— these old men with their grey uniforms. They come only occasionally on patrol, as our hamlet is too small and too insignificant, so there is no standing garrison in it. We are warned that they can be quite dangerous, but once they come into the house and sit down, they are really nice. I am just seven years old, yet they teach me how to use the Mauser2 and the Schmeisser3, how to load them and how to take care of them. On another occasion they also showed me how to use a hand grenade. They sit inside because it is warm and they are tired and they usually bring some coffee, which Aunt Paulina brews for them. We can also drink some. Looking back, it was possibly ersatz—but at the time, I felt very important to be able to take a sip.

    Tags:   gideon friederechoes of memory, volume 7