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

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  • Daydreaming in the Forest

    Having been on long trips in the forests myself, taking in the sights, the smells, the breeze, experiencing the entire picture as a whole, I could dwell on it for quite a while.

    Tags:   agi gevaechoes of memory, volume 14death marchesmemory

  • The Painting of a Holocaust Experience

    The photo I’ll describe is of a painting, realistically depicting a moment in my husband, Marcel’s, Holocaust experience. It was painted by the Bringing the Lessons Home ambassadors, a group of Washington, DC, students studying the Holocaust and expressing what they learn through art. 

    Tags:   ania drimerechoes of memory, volume 14aktionmemoryhidingfamily

  • My First Theatrical Experience

    When I was 11 years old, my sisters took me to the Comédie Française to see Cyrano de Bergerac. It was the first time I went to a theater, and I had no idea what the play was about. I was immediately sold on the theater and on Cyrano, a man with a long nose, not handsome, not so particular about how he dressed, but, as he says to this vain interlocutor who has the nerve to provoke him by telling him that he has a long nose, “Me, it is morally that I have my elegance.” The whole play is about how he is morally elegant, almost heroic when Roxane, his cousin, the lady with whom he is so deeply in love, tells him that she is in love with someone else. Instead of behaving like a jealous, dismissed lover, he pairs with his rival and, together, they work towards making Roxane fall in love with “their” eloquence. That night at the theater, Cyrano became my hero, a role model I would try to emulate all my life, trying to make the best of a disillusion.

    Tags:   albert garihechoes of memory, volume 14life after the holocaustmemory

  • Mireille

    It was in the spring of 1944 during the time after my father had been taken to a slave labor camp, where he was assigned to building the Atlantic Wall to stop the Allies’ invasion. My mother, my sisters, and I were staying with the Galop family who had offered to take us into hiding so we wouldn’t be arrested and deported by the Gestapo, the French police, or the French militia. Monsieur Galop, who was a very talented builder—his job was to build sets for the movie studios—had erected a small shelter in their yard for our protection against the bombardments. I don’t think that flimsy construction would have saved us if a bomb had fallen in their yard, but it gave us comfort in case of danger.

    Tags:   albert garihechoes of memory, volume 14forced laborhidingfrancememory

  • Incident at the Brook

    This was yet another home in which my father left me. The caretakers had accepted the payment and believed my father’s story. I was not worried about them. It was the neighbors and friends who posed a danger. The community was small, and seeing a new child in their midst created curiosity and suspicion.  

    Tags:   joan da silvaechoes of memory, volume 14gestapopolandmemoryhiding

  • How My Father’s Force of Spirit Willed Us to Live: His Puzzling Dream and Bravery

    Dear reader, did you see my father’s eyes darting fire? It is here in this book, a photograph of him with a mustache. He was the one who saved us. He turned desperation into defiance. He carried us over the inescapable and he did it from a distance. His will to live drove us. My mother listened to his words, and I sensed him in my spirit. He actually willed us to live. His eyes never regained that mellow look, not until the war was over. He was polite with people, passing as my mother’s caring friend. He never gave himself away in any manner, except that his eyes burned. 

    Tags:   joan da silvaechoes of memory, volume 14memoryparentsfamily

  • How I Fooled the Gestapo

    I am very blond and blue-eyed, and the Nazi soldiers love my looks. Of course they don’t know I am Jewish.

    Tags:   joan da silvaechoes of memory, volume 14memoryhiding

  • Mukačevo: My Hometown

    I imagine that my grandchildren’s generation, and certainly that of my great-grandchildren, will not be able to picture a life without even the simplest of the luxuries we have now. I am certain that when people I meet hear that I was raised in Mukačevo, they imagine it to be a shtetl, with little huts or little houses, without running water or electricity, and with mud-filled streets, with people pushing carts or horses pulling small or large carriages. Mukačevo doesn’t look like this now, nor did it look like this in the 1930s.

    Tags:   ruth cohenechoes of memory, volume 14jewish communities before the warmemory

  • All I Really Need to Know I Learned from My Mother

    Single-parent families were the second-most common family structure in 2016 in the US, with just over 20 million children living with a single mother or father. Today the term “single-parent families” has a negative connotation, implying that one parent abandoned the family. The sad truth is that the missing parents are mostly the fathers who abandoned the mother of their children.

    Tags:   peter gorogechoes of memory, volume 14life after the holocaustparentsmemory

  • Things I Should Not Have Done

    I guess we all have things we would rather have done or not done, said or not said, things we are proud of or not so proud of in our lives. I am going to tell about a time I am not too proud of. This happened when I was 13 or 14 years old. I hope that by telling about it, I will clear my conscience once and for all of that stain that still haunts me almost 70 years later.

    Tags:   albert garihechoes of memory, volume 14life after the holocaustmemory