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

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  • 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

  • Home

    The places I am longing to see again. There is a different longing for a place you know—to be able to visit any time you decide to. The longing is even greater when you know for sure you're not to see that place again. The reason is the danger of flying while having three stents in my heart with instructions not to get on a plane again.

    Tags:   agi gevaechoes of memory, volume 14israelfamilymemory

  • Vacation and Politics

    One of my more memorable vacations was in Bethany Beach, Delaware. Bethany Beach, you ask? Not hiking in the Swiss Alps, swimming in the Pacific Ocean in Hawaii, not tasting red wine in Provence, all of which I experienced.

    Tags:   ania drimerechoes of memory, volume 14israelfriendscontemporary events

  • British Army

    The volunteer office provided me a ticket to Amsterdam, and from there I made my way by train and ferry back to England. As I approached the immigration booth, I wondered how it would go. I had been technically AWOL (absent without leave) from the British Army for 18 months. The agent took my passport, shuffled some papers, and said, “Well, well, lookie here. Did you know you are wanted by the army?” I answered, “Yes, that’s why I am here.” “Well good, mind you report to your local police station when you get home.” With that, he stamped my passport, returning it to me and cheerfully said, “Welcome home, son.” That sounded good to my ears. I thought, one hurdle gone, but several still lay ahead. 

    Tags:   alfred traumechoes of memory, volume 13life after the holocaustisrael

  • Britain’s Response

    Britain's response to the mass violence against Jews on Kristallnacht (the “Night of Broken Glass”) on November 9-10, 1938, was to offer a safe haven to children at risk living under the Nazi yoke, and thus the Kindertransport program was born. By the time World War II broke out on September 1, 1939, approximately 10,000 children had arrived in Britain via the Kindertransport program. In many cases, parents made that heart-wrenching decision to send their children away without knowing if they would ever be reunited. But by taking that step, the parents saved their children’s lives. 

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 12alfred traumczechoslovakiakindertransportisrael

  • To Be a Free People in Our Land

    As long as the Jewish spirit is yearning deep in the heart, 
    With eyes turned toward the East, looking toward Zion, 
    Then our hope—the two-thousand-year-old hope—will not be lost: 
    To be a free people in our land, 
    The land of Zion and Jerusalem. 
    “Hatikvah” (National Anthem of Israel) 

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 12peter gorogisraelvolunteering at the museum

  • Mamlock House

    Two years ago I was on a nostalgic visit to Manchester, England, where I had lived. I visited Mamlock House, a Jewish center where many meetings and lectures were given.

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 11alfred traumisraelremembrancememorials

  • A Special Moment

    Sidney and I left for Israel to celebrate the bar and bat mitzvah of two of our grandchildren, Benjamin and Rebekah: a joyous occasion and hopefully a learning experience. Our daughter Naomi did not finalize the ceremony of coming of age for her children until about eight months before. Neither of the children have any Jewish education, and they do not belong to a synagogue. Frankly, I think she made the arrangements to please her parents and especially me, with my background.

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 11louise lawrence israëlslouise lawrence-israëlsisraelremembrance

  • Theodor Herzl: One Man’s Dream

    I recently attended the third annual gala of the Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces (FIDF), Washington, DC, chapter. It gave me great pride to see hundreds of people gathered there with the purpose of raising money for the IDF. I could not help thinking back to my childhood in the 1930s in Polana, Czechoslovakia. As Jews, we were content living in a democracy that gave us hope for a bright future. 

    Tags:   martin weissechoes of memory, volume 8israelzionism

  • Ruth

    This would be our first return to Israel since my sister’s death. My visits before had always felt like a homecoming. Now there was an emptiness that could not easily be replaced by family or friends. Josie and I embarked on our short vacation with mixed emotions.

    Tags:   alfred traumechoes of memory, volume 7israelzionismfamilymemory

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