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

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  • Post–Korea

    I went into the army shortly after we moved in Brooklyn from a small apartment on the corner of Thirty-Sixth Street and Flatbush Avenue to a more spacious house on Fifty-Ninth Street off King’s Highway and Remsen Avenue. This move accommodated my sister’s family who had recently emigrated from Israel to live with us. When I left the United States Army and my military pay ceased, and with my mother now a widow, I needed to find employment. I took my time looking for a job after mustering out from active duty in the early days of summer 1954. I felt unsettled and took aptitude tests offered by B’nai B’rith to identify paths to my future. These tests showed a distinct and significant predilection to music, although I never studied or played any instruments. I knew absolutely nothing about music except that I loved listening to it, especially symphonies, chamber music, and operas. 

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 12michel margosislife after the holocaustfamilyus army

  • Onward to America: A New World

    The children boarded the train and they all began chattering even as the wheels began to turn. The train made a stop in Madrid to collect several additional children. Some of the young passengers had been with me at the Hospicio (orphanage) in Gerona and in Caldas de Malavella, and it was good to see Georges again. Jacques Rusman, a Southern French Jew from the city of Montauban, came aboard in Madrid along with Daniel Rosenberg. Other children that were placed with the group included Georgette and Pauline Wolman, as well as Israel and Rachel Lucas.

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 11michel margosisjdcimmigrationunited states

  • Decamping France

    During the invasion of Morocco and Algeria in Operation Torch, undertaken by the Allied Forces on the eighth of November 1942, German troops overran the unoccupied zone of France directly. The Nazi military finally and openly occupied the whole of metropolitan France in 1942 because of this new threat from the Allied invasion of North Africa. I found the sound of the Nazi boots marching on the Canebière terrifying, perhaps because the footwear worn by the German infantry were probably Knobelbecher, what are sometimes called jackboots. The standard version of the Knobelbecher in World War II had a leather sole with hobnails and a horseshoe heel.

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 10michel margosiscollaborationcomplicitydeportationescapemarseillespolice

  • 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

  • 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