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

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  • Step into a Photo

    The smiling children sitting on the well-worn step are my brother Joe and me. We look happy because our mother is in the house about to have our baby brother. We know nothing about her not being able to go to the hospital because we are Jewish. The battered wooden door behind us is dense and solid, so we cannot hear any noises coming from the inside. When new, this door must have been especially elegant because of the intricate paneling that is embossed on its lower part. The photo was taken 84 years ago. 

    Tags:   susan warsingerechoes of memory, volume 14antisemitismanti-jewish legislationboycottsmemoryfamily

  • 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 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

  • Putting a Name to a Hidden Face

    Two of the most precious photographs I have of my family were taken at my brit milah, the ritual circumcision ceremony performed on all male Jewish babies when they are eight days old. Because I was born a year and a half into the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, my parents’ friends counseled against a circumcision. “It will identify him as being Jewish,” they said. My parents’ dilemma was solved when a pediatrician who examined me shortly after I was born told my father that I needed “a minor operation, called a circumcision.” My father then reminded him of our Jewish tradition and that I would be ritually circumcised. That is how family and friends came to gather in our home on December 1, 1941, to observe this first milestone of a Jewish life.

    Tags:   alfred münzerechoes of memory, volume 14hidden childrendeportationsforced laborswedenmemory

  • Aix-les-Bains

    Aix-les-Bains is an idyllic thermal bath resort located in a basin formed by the French Alps to one side and the Jura mountains to the other, and is a place frequented by such luminaries as Queen Victoria and the Aga Khan. But to me Aix stands for a way of living that has guided me since I was 15. 

    Tags:   alfred münzerechoes of memory, volume 14life after the holocaustreligionmemoryfriendsschools

  • Traits

    When I give a presentation, I almost always start by saying I am here because I was lucky. 

    Why was I lucky? Because there were people around us who risked their lives to help us and to save us, and because of the love and courage of my parents.

    Tags:   louise lawrence israëlsechoes of memory, volume 14life after the holocaustparentsfamilymemory

  • Selma Is Going to Make Aliyah

    After my husband Sidney came home from the Gulf War, we decided that we wanted to be together with our family as much as possible. This would not be an easy task, as we lived at West Point in New York, Jordana was in school in Boston, and Judith and Naomi lived in Germany, where their respective husbands were stationed. We decided to meet in Holland, during Jordana’s winter break, in February of 1992.

    Tags:   louise lawrence israëlsechoes of memory, volume 14life after the holocaustfamilyfriendsmemorybelongings

  • In Memoriam: Harry Markowicz 1937–2020

    Even if English were my mother tongue, I would not be able to express the sadness I felt when I got the news that Harry Markowicz is not with us anymore. I knew that his health was deteriorating, I knew about his time in home hospice care in the last few weeks, but the news was still devastating. 

    Tags:   peter gorogechoes of memory, volume 14memoryfriendslife after the holocaustvolunteering at the museum

  • What I Learned from My Father

    Father’s Day is just around the corner and I am looking forward to celebrating it. Being the father of six daughters and the grandfather of four fills me with joy, not to mention the expectations of surprise presents. Presents or no presents, the love of children and grandchildren is the best thing that any papa anywhere can get. And I get a lot. Unfortunately my father never had a chance to receive the same love from me. He died during the Holocaust when I, his only child, was not even two years old.

    Tags:   peter gorogechoes of memory, volume 14familyparentsforced labormemorydiariespostcards

  • 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

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