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

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  • Sofie’s Memorial

    In August 2008, my son Mike and I traveled to Prague to see my birthplace, explore the city, and pay our respects to Sofie, my grandmother. First, we explored the world of Bohemian beer. Mike wondered whether Josef Stein, Mike’s great-grandfather, played a role in selling hops, yeast, and barley to brewers in Eastern Europe? Mike often recreated historic beers, and he was eager to learn if Josef had any beer-brewing experiences.

    Tags:   peter steinechoes of memory, volume 14praguetheresienstadtcrematoriafoodmemorygrandparents

  • My Paternal Grandparents

    My maternal Bubbe and Zeyde (Yiddish for grandmother and grandfather) died before I was born, so I want to write about the grandparents who I knew—my father’s parents.

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 11ruth cohenauschwitzgrandparentsholidays

  • My Grandparents

    My paternal grandfather was a tall, kind, handsome man with a sweet smile and a beautiful beard. I was about seven years old when he died, but my memory of his funeral is very clear. The whole street was full of people paying their respects to him. He was an ombudsman after he retired from his business career. My grandmother was not very tall. She was also always smiling, but she was a very strict woman who also had her own business. We spent all the holidays at my grandparents’ table. The extended family was large, and so was the table.

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 10ruth cohenauschwitzgrandparentsholidays

  • 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 9denunciationhidingresistancegrandparentsmemory

  • 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 9grandparentsmemory

  • Hulda and Tante Anna

    I sometimes think about why I never met any of my grandparents. They lived in a small town in Poland called Kolomaya, which is now part of the Ukraine. My father told me that he left his family when he was 16 and immigrated to Germany because he did not want to join the Polish army. He acquired a job in a shoe store in Dusseldorf and made a life for himself. My mother also lived in Poland with her large family of seven brothers and sisters. She revealed to me when I was an adult, that since her family was poor and had many children, her mother gave her away to her well-off sister who lived in Viersen, Germany. This was my mother’s aunt and my great-aunt, Tante Anna. I was really astonished and had much compassion for my mother, because I had experienced this kind of separation from her during the Holocaust and I knew exactly what it felt like.

    Tags:   susan warsingerechoes of memory, volume 8rigafoodgrandparentsmemory

  • My Grandfather

    I was very fortunate to have had a happy childhood. The memories of my childhood kept me going during the terrible war. My childhood was just beautiful. I received a great deal of love and caring from both my parents and grandparents.

    Tags:   erika eckstutechoes of memory, volume 6holidaysgrandparentsmemoryromania