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

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  • May 1945 and May 2015

    The sun is warm and so bright. I can feel the warmth on my face. It feels good. The noises around me are different; I have not heard them before. I am a little afraid, but my brother is holding my hand and my parents are with us. We hear people talking. Some are singing. It sounds nice, but I do not understand what is going on around me. I do not hear the frightening noise of the alarm that always sounds before an airplane flies over. The airplanes make a noise that we do not like.

    Tags:   louise lawrence-israëlslouise lawrence israëlsechoes of memory, volume 9

  • Courage

    There are so many forms of courage in our lives. It starts when we are very young, for instance: taking that first step as a little child. Lifting one foot and standing on the other foot, putting the lifted foot forward and down to the floor, all the time trusting the foot and leg; will it hold me until the other foot helps support me again? Will I fall, or will it work out?

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  • Rwanda

    I work with a special teacher from Nebraska, my friend Mark.

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 7louise lawrence israëlslouise lawrence-israëls

  • Summer

    I just put my suitcase on my bed. I am so excited because I am going for three weeks to stay with my best friend, Selma. Mama has made some beautiful new clothes for me—skirts and blouses. I think I have everything ready to pack. I wish that I had some sandals this year; I only have brown shoes with shoelaces. Maybe we can find sandals next year. Since the war they have not been in the shoe stores, and even shoes are still rationed.

    Tags:   louise lawrence-israëlslouise lawrence israëlsechoes of memory, volume 8

  • Purple Oleander

    Selma was my best friend. She spent three years with my family and me in hiding in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, during the Holocaust, from 1942 to 1945. The last time I saw Selma was five and a half years ago.

    Tags:   louise lawrence-israëlslouise lawrence israëlsechoes of memory, volume 7

  • Trust

    May 5, 1945—the war in Holland is over. My parents and Selma, our friend, are so happy. My brother and I understand that the atmosphere in our attic is changing, but we do not understand the exact reason for the smiles on the faces of the three adults. My dad is running to the cupboard to get our last tin of cookies. Those cookies have helped us during the hunger winter, when we did not have much to eat. Dad opens the tin and puts it on the floor, and he tells us we can eat as many cookies as we like. That is fun. With a cookie in each hand we do not know where to start. After one cookie we are not hungry anymore and we put the other cookies back for next time. This must be the meaning of peace, eating cookies, we think.

    Tags:   louise lawrence-israëlslouise lawrence israëlsechoes of memory, volume 6

  • Light

    Light is important in my life. We only have a dormer window, too high for a little girl to look outside. We get up in the morning when a strip of light shines through that window and when the window looks black, Mama quickly closes the blackout curtain and that is the time I love, watching Mama.

    Tags:   louise lawrence-israëlslouise lawrence israëlsechoes of memory, volume 6

  • The Wicker Chair

    The first three years of my life, which I spent in hiding from 1942 until 1945, seemed very normal to me. Three adults—my mom, my dad, and our friend Selma—as well as my brother were around all the time. They paid attention to me, played with me, and taught me the things you teach a little girl. Of course, I did not realize that our life was only indoors and that going outside to play or for a walk were not part of our daily routine. The adults kept their fears from the children.

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  • The Table

    The old family table now stands in the dining area of our house in Bethesda. The table was made in 1907 when my grandparents got married. It was made of solid mahogany wood in Holland. It was our custom to gather around it for big meals at birthdays, holidays, and any other excuse to be with family and friends. The table was made to seat 24. When it is closed, it seats eight, but you can pull it open and for each board you insert, another set of legs pops out from the bottom.

    Tags:   louise lawrence-israëlslouise lawrence israëlsechoes of memory, volume 5

  • The Train Station

    After liberation in 1945, we started a new daily routine. We had regular mealtimes, but food was still scarce. My brother and I did not realize that it was normal to eat three times a day. For us, every time we sat down to eat was a surprise.

    Tags:   louise lawrence-israëlslouise lawrence israëlsechoes of memory, volume 4