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

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  • My Father

    The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum owns the original photograph that I donated to the collection when the Museum first opened. It is a picture of me when I was around three years old. My father and I are walking across the bridge over the Nahe River in Bad Kreuznach, the town where I was born in Germany. The time is probably just before the Nazis and Hitler came into power. My father is young and handsome, wearing a double breasted pinstripe suit with a white handkerchief in his breast pocket. It looks like he has a newspaper casually folded in his jacket pocket. He is smiling and his head is slightly bent towards me. He seems to be proud walking with his little daughter garbed in her beautiful white dress, embroidered with vibrant flowers. What makes me happy now, looking at this picture, is that he is holding my hand, and that I am walking confidently into whatever is going to happen to me in the future.

    Tags:   susan warsingerechoes of memory, volume 14boycottsnazi partyquakersimmigrationparents

  • Food Desired and Food Denied

    I was seven years old in 1943 when my father disappeared. It was the fourth year of the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia, and he was not at home. I kept asking my mother about my father, and her standard reply became, “Don’t worry—he is on a business trip and will be back as soon as he can.” At first, I believed her, but I wanted a fuller explanation. I missed my father terribly, but my mother never told me that he was assigned to a hard labor battalion or, later in 1944, that he was sent to Theresienstadt. She could not tell me the truth.

    Tags:   peter steinechoes of memory, volume 14forced laboroccupationczechoslovakiaparentsfoodtheresienstadt

  • My Story

    I was born in Kraków, Poland, and we lived in Zaleszczyki. My mother was an all-around athlete: a champion swimmer, skier, ice skater, and horse rider. She made sure that I would follow in her footsteps and she taught me to skate and ski when I was five. She also taught me to knit, crochet, and embroider, all skills she excelled at.

    Tags:   halina yasharoff peabodyechoes of memory, volume 14occupied polandanti-jewish legislationmass shootingshidingdeportationsparents

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Torte of Many Memories

    I am not good at changing tires, ice skating, or mending socks. What I am good at is baking, especially my signature dish, which is a walnut torte. Since I was a young girl, I was helping my mother with the torte: chopping the walnuts, watching how she mixed the eggs with sugar until they became almost white, and marveling at the egg whites when they became white and frothy and almost doubled in size. Then we would mix everything together, bake it, and after an hour, a beautiful, wonderfully smelling cake would come out from the oven. I felt a great closeness with my mother at that moment and appreciated that she introduced me to a wonderful world of baking.

    Tags:   ania drimerechoes of memory, volume 14holidaysfoodparentsmemorylife after the holocaust

  • My Parents

    The year is 1958. 

    The photo portrays my mother and father looking content with life, standing on the side of the road. He is embracing her lovingly, as he will for the rest of his life. She is his rock, his friend, the person who takes care of the practical side of his life. Their personalities are different but they mesh together beautifully. My parents, brother, and I live in Wałbrzych, a medium-size city in Lower Silesia, Poland, where we settled after leaving the Soviet Gulag.

    Tags:   ania drimerechoes of memory, volume 14life after the holocaustimmigratonparentsmemorypoland

  • What I Am Best At

    I know that I am very good at many, many things. I am a good wife, mother, friend, worker, and was very good at sports, mostly tennis. But …

    Tags:   ruth cohenechoes of memory, volume 14memoryparentsletters

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