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

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  • My Unforgettable Theatrical Experience

    On the night of December 15, 2015, the Theater J, at the Jewish Community Center  of Washington, was filled to capacity. As a sign of the times, for security reasons, everyone attending this play had to be screened to enter.

    Tags:   ania drimerechoes of memory, volume 14pogromspolandjewish communities before the warantisemitismlife after the holocaust

  • My Parents

    The year is 1958. 

    The photo portrays my mother and father looking content with life, standing on the side of the road. He is embracing her lovingly, as he will for the rest of his life. She is his rock, his friend, the person who takes care of the practical side of his life. Their personalities are different but they mesh together beautifully. My parents, brother, and I live in Wałbrzych, a medium-size city in Lower Silesia, Poland, where we settled after leaving the Soviet Gulag.

    Tags:   ania drimerechoes of memory, volume 14life after the holocaustimmigratonparentsmemorypoland

  • My Street

    After the war, coming from Drohobycz in December 1945, I lived on Fredry 18 Street in Wałbrzych, Poland.

    Tags:   marcel drimerechoes of memory, volume 14polandlife after the holocaustmemoryfamily

  • Taharah

    Taharah: what is it, why do we do it, and who does it? We translate the Hebrew word taharah as the purification of a dead body. According to our Bible, every person who enters this world arrives pure and clean; they are pure of sins and clean of misdeeds. When a person passes away and leaves this world, he should also leave pure. But, since no one knows in advance when one will pass away, how can you purify yourself before leaving this world? The answer is, you can’t. But, there is a way to purify a person who passed away by performing a taharah.

    Tags:   nat shaffirechoes of memory, volume 14religionlife after the holocaust

  • Adapting

    How difficult it is to identify one thing I learned from all the different people who raised me. My parents, of course, were the first people I must think about. My instinct tells me they took advantage of an opportunity, and trusted family and strangers. I think this trust was really learning to adapt to new situations.

    Tags:   esther rosenfeld starobinechoes of memory, volume 14life after the holocaustfamilyparentsschools

  • Goodbye, Bicycle

    With an inward sigh of relief, I handed the bike over to Cristina. It was a beautiful bike, hardly used, with ten gears. I really had tried to master the gears, but I walked it to the top of my street because I couldn’t make it up the hill peddling. I was assured by my daughter and son-in-law that if I changed gears, I would be able to. Well, maybe they could but I just couldn’t remember how to change the gears or what direction to change them. It had been my retirement gift from them. Very thoughtful, I supposed.

    Tags:   esther rosenfeld starobinechoes of memory, volume 14life after the holocaustbelongings

  • Bicycle Memories

    Today I took the metro to the Museum. As I walked from the parking lot to the station, I passed by the bicycle storage area where shiny, expensive bicycles were chained to the rack. First I was amazed at how many people trust that their bicycle will be there when they return from work. My first crime experience in the United States taught me otherwise. 

    Tags:   peter gorogechoes of memory, volume 13life after the holocaust

  • Home Sweet Home

    I am an old man. I just turned 79. During my life I have lived in many places but only a few of them would I call home.

    Tags:   peter gorogechoes of memory, volume 13life after the holocaustfamily

  • 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

  • The Night Watchman

    As Chief Radio Officer on the SS Zion, I had the 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. watch, which provided me with the whole evening free to enjoy dinner with guests in the dining room plus partake in activities of a social nature. However, my watch was also in the wee hours of the morning from 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. Generally, activities in the radio room were slack during those hours, and I had plenty of free time to chat with the night watchman who used to stop by. He held one of those clocks that registered at different stations aboard the ship and time stamped at each location. However, it still provided ample time for me to hear his story. 

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