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

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  • My Father

    The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum owns the original photograph that I donated to the collection when the Museum first opened. It is a picture of me when I was around three years old. My father and I are walking across the bridge over the Nahe River in Bad Kreuznach, the town where I was born in Germany. The time is probably just before the Nazis and Hitler came into power. My father is young and handsome, wearing a double breasted pinstripe suit with a white handkerchief in his breast pocket. It looks like he has a newspaper casually folded in his jacket pocket. He is smiling and his head is slightly bent towards me. He seems to be proud walking with his little daughter garbed in her beautiful white dress, embroidered with vibrant flowers. What makes me happy now, looking at this picture, is that he is holding my hand, and that I am walking confidently into whatever is going to happen to me in the future.

    Tags:   susan warsingerechoes of memory, volume 14boycottsnazi partyquakersimmigrationparents

  • Democracy, A Poem

    The ocean carries my boat to a new land.
    I stand at the railing to see the symbol
    of freedom and democracy.

    Tags:   susan warsingerechoes of memory, volume 14immigrationlife after the holocaust

  • Grandchildren

    Six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust. The immensity of this number does not reveal who these people were and does not give meaning to the lives they lived. The number will never tell the full story of what has been lost. All those people who were killed, including most of my relatives, were important. They had all been busy living lives and contributing to society. Any number of their children and grandchildren could have become great scientists, doctors, lawyers, chefs, actors, poets, writers, dancers, engineers, athletes, teachers, and so much more. The loss to humanity is incomprehensible.

    Tags:   susan warsingerechoes of memory, volume 14aftermath of the holocaustimmigrationfamily

  • My Community

    There are many places I have lived in since 1939, when I was thrown out of my house and first had to relocate. This was in Poland and my mother, sister, and I were trying desperately to survive under the Soviet, and then German occupation. My community at that time were the other frightened people who were also trying to find a safe place. After the Germans occupied us, being Jewish, we had only one destination and that was a concentration camp and death.

    Tags:   halina yasharoff peabodyechoes of memory, volume 14occupied polandimmigrationisraelfamilyunited kingdommemory

  • New Life

    The war was over. The Germans were gone, the Soviets were still with us and didn’t give any sign of leaving Poland, but our lives were no longer in danger.

    I was in the hospital recovering from the bomb shrapnel that wounded my hand. When Mother found Father in Tel Aviv, we expected him to come and get us, but he sent my cousin Arye instead to navigate our trip out of Poland. 

    Tags:   halina yasharoff peabodyechoes of memory, volume 14life after the holocaustimmigrationrefugeespolandunited kingdom

  • Letter to Tansi

    We, the survivors who volunteer at the United States Holocaust Museum, often receive letters from students who wish to engage with a Holocaust survivor as part of a school project. Tansi is a 15-year-old sophomore in high school in California. She must have researched our survivor biographies and been moved by my experience and wanted to learn more. Her sensitive letter prompted me to reply to her and praise her for her perceptive questions.

    Tags:   susan warsingerechoes of memory, volume 13escapeimmigrationvolunteering at the museum

  • Reunited

    I was asked to speak in the Hall of Remembrance at the Museum’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. After all these years of never wanting to speak in a large public setting, I was hesitant. Yet, one day as I was driving, I suddenly saw myself speaking at a lectern and knew that I had decided to say yes to the request.

    Tags:   ruth cohenechoes of memory, volume 13auschwitzdisplaced personsimmigrationfamily

  • Polana, Czechoslovakia

    My grandfather, Mayer Weiss, lived in Polana before World War I, when the village was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. After World War I, Czechoslovakia was established and  included the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Karpatska Russ (Carpathian Russ), where we lived.

    Tags:   martin weissechoes of memory, volume 13aftermath of the holocaustczechoslovakiaimmigrationoccupationfamily

  • A Moment of Great Joy

    After two weeks of sailing on the Atlantic Ocean, the Serpa Pinto moved deliberately towards the shore of our new destination, the United States of America. The 50 immigrant children, including my brother Joe and me, were informed that early the next morning we would be cruising past the Statue of Liberty. The instructions were that we should be at the bow of the ship, on the port side, before 6 a.m. in order to obtain a good view. We understood that this statue was the universal symbol of freedom and represented the United States itself.

    Tags:   susan warsingerechoes of memory, volume 13childrenimmigrationunited states

  • America under Attack

    About 60 years ago my mother and I arrived in the United States. As we ate breakfast on the SS Rijndam, tears welled up as we had our first long-anticipated view of the Statue of Liberty. To us, America was “The New World,” a country where everyone had the opportunity to thrive, a country that welcomed the stranger, a country with none of the narrow-mindedness and antisemitism that persisted in Europe even after the Holocaust. As we stood at the railing waiting for our turn with the immigration officer, we marveled at the heavy protective gloves worn by dockworkers as they unloaded huge crates, and at the cups of coffee they were served on the loading platforms when it came time for a break. Surely this was the real workers’ paradise!

    Tags:   alfred münzerechoes of memory, volume 13immigrationpropagandacontemporary events

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