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

Blog Home > memory

  • Brothers

    Three years ago, I had a life-changing experience: I met a brother I never knew I had. His name is Arn Chorn Pond.

    Tags:   alfred münzerechoes of memory, volume 10life after the holocaustmemory

  • Where Are You, Tola?

    I last held you when you were six months old and I was almost three. It was March 1943, a time of war, Nazis, and unthinkable persecution of our people. To give you, my sister, a chance to live, Dziadzio changed your name from “Tola Weinstock,” a Jew, to “Antonina Nowicka,” a Catholic. You were fair-haired, with our father’s blue eyes, so you could easily pass as a Catholic Polish child. He took you to Dr. Groer’s Catholic orphanage and paid them to keep you safe.

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 10julie keeferlife after the holocaustfamilymemory

  • The S.S. Zion

    So this was it! I was finally on the way to realizing my dream. It had been six long years—army, merchant navy, college, assignments at sea, and more schooling—and all the time working toward a single goal. Those were the thoughts that echoed through my mind as we drove to the Manchester Airport. My whole family came to see me off—my sister, her husband, and the two boys all excited and wishing me well— as I embarked on my new adventure. It wasn’t a sad farewell. We all knew that we would see each other fairly soon.

    Tags:   alfred traumechoes of memory, volume 9familymemorylife after the holocaust

  • In Transit, Spain

    We had been heading downhill for what seemed an unending ordeal, and as dawn at last approached, we quietly entered a town that was most assuredly asleep. Our guides led us into a tavern in the middle of Puigcerdà—just barely inside Spain—actually only about six miles southeast from our starting point. We gathered several chairs together as a barricade, in the main dining room of the inn, and immediately fell asleep behind them. When we awoke, daylight penetrated the inn through the window shutters, but the shop was closed with most of the chairs stacked upside down on the tables.

    Tags:   michel margosisechoes of memory, volume 9jdcrefugeesspainmemory

  • The Sinaasappel

    I was in hiding for the first years of my life. There were five of us in hiding: my brother and I, my parents, and our friend, Tante Selma. My parents and Selma took very good care of my brother and me and gave us a lot of love. Since the adults never talked about our exceptional circumstances, we only knew what they told us, and we saw only what they showed us.

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

  • 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 9liberationfamilymemorymemorials

  • In Hiding

    In the winter of 1943, Dziadziu learned that the Nazis were going to burn down the ghetto in Lvov where my mother, father, baby sister, and I were hiding.

    Tags:   julie keeferechoes of memory, volume 9denunciationhidingresistancegrandparentsmemory

  • Did He Know I Was Jewish?

    A gentle breeze rustles the leaves. It is sunny and warm. The sun hits my face with a warm glow. Babcia (“Grandma” in Polish) digs for a potato or carrot in a picked-over patch of land. I scamper after her. I catch up with her, pull at her skirt to get her to play with me. She sighs, wrinkles her forehead, but agrees to pick dandelions with me. We both pick dandelions. She sits with me and makes me a wreath of dandelions. I wear it proudly. The smell of violets, wet leaves, and damp earth fills the air. Babcia continues to look for food. I try to follow her but my eyelids start to droop, and I begin to feel heavy; my steps become more and more sluggish. I fall asleep. Babcia goes back to the house. She stands outside with Mrs. Schwarczinski.

    Tags:   julie keeferechoes of memory, volume 9grandparentsmemory

  • Flory

    I first met Flory Jagoda in 2001 when she founded our Ladino group, Vijitas de Alhad (Sunday visits). I was one of the very first members of that group, and I was immediately seduced by her charm. She was an approximately 80-year-old lady, a native of Bosnia who moved to the States after marrying a young US Army officer in 1945. Flory was a young bride whose wedding gown was made from a parachute. A singer and composer, Flory wrote “Ocho Kandelikas” (Eight candles)—the famous song that celebrates Hanukkah. I started to attend our monthly visit assiduously, and it was like love at first sight.

    Tags:   albert garihechoes of memory, volume 9familyfriendsmemorialsmemory

  • On to Marseille

    Frustrated after many weeks on the farm vainly awaiting developments, my mother decided to take the family to Marseille, the largest French seaport metropolis on the Mediterranean in Provence. She had hopes of personally seeking out the Persian legation for assistance in securing an exit visa for the four of us shown on Mother’s Persian passport. We arrived in the second largest city in France in mid-October 1941 with what little money Mother had managed to salvage.

    Tags:   michel margosisechoes of memory, volume 8marseillesfamilyfoodfriendsmemory