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

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  • Trust

    May 5, 1945—the war in Holland is over. My parents and Selma, our friend, are so happy. My brother and I understand that the atmosphere in our attic is changing, but we do not understand the exact reason for the smiles on the faces of the three adults. My dad is running to the cupboard to get our last tin of cookies. Those cookies have helped us during the hunger winter, when we did not have much to eat. Dad opens the tin and puts it on the floor, and he tells us we can eat as many cookies as we like. That is fun. With a cookie in each hand we do not know where to start. After one cookie we are not hungry anymore and we put the other cookies back for next time. This must be the meaning of peace, eating cookies, we think.

    Tags:   louise lawrence-israëlslouise lawrence israëlsechoes of memory, volume 6liberationlife after the holocaustmemoryparents

  • Light

    Light is important in my life. We only have a dormer window, too high for a little girl to look outside. We get up in the morning when a strip of light shines through that window and when the window looks black, Mama quickly closes the blackout curtain and that is the time I love, watching Mama.

    Tags:   louise lawrence-israëlslouise lawrence israëlsechoes of memory, volume 6parentsholidaylife after the holocaustmemory

  • Summer of ‘42

    For many baby boomers out there, the movie was a defining moment of adolescence. This new musical version is funny, wistful, and entertaining from start to end. I hope you’ll join us to relive your youth, or to experience for the first time this portrait of a young man growing up just a bit too fast. 

    Tags:   esther starobinechoes of memory, volume 5auschwitzdeportationslettersparentsgassing operations

  • My Boots

    I love to look at the boots that are so stylish these days. There are so many different types but they all remind me of the little boots that are tucked away in a safe place in my home. My boots are brown and lace up the front. It is obvious that they have been worn a lot and patched again and again.

    Tags:   esther starobinechoes of memory, volume 5kindertransportmemoryparents

  • Tata’s Last Word

    At dawn, the train jerked to a clanging halt. Those close to the bullet holes and cracks in the walls reported what they saw: “Armed German soldiers and Ukrainian guards, people—our people—behind barbed-wire fences, and chimneys. Oh! Borze drogi! Gotinew!” (“Dear God!”) People sighed. Icy fear spread from my chest to every cell in my body. I could not stop trembling. I felt as if it were the world shaking with a ravage force. I clutched my parents, forced myself to sit upright, and tried hard to stay alert. My mind was no longer entirely mine. It was doing things as if in a nightmare. After a short wait and solemn postulations about our future, we heard unbolting bars and rude shouts. “Raus! Raus! Schnell!” (“Out! Out! Move!”) And then they were upon us.

    Tags:   estelle laughlinechoes of memory, volume 5majdanekmemoryparentsselection

  • Helpers at the Gate

    Finally, we had arrived in Montreal, Canada. Our goal had been to move to the home of my father’s cousin—our sponsor, Louis Wolinsky, who lived in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, Canada. It had been a long and difficult procedure to find any person to help us leave Germany.

    Tags:   rabbi jacob g. wienerechoes of memory, volume 4canadakristallnachtimmigrationparents

  • Leaving Germany Forever

    My father and we four children had our permits in hand to immigrate to Canada. Now it seemed easy to “sign us out.” That’s what the Germans wanted at that time, 1939: “Jews leave, get out.” Several years later, when no country showed any interest in saving refugees, Hitler said, “No one wants them; we are correct in excluding them from our land. They are in our power. And our goal to make Germany Judenrein will go on in force now until the last Jew is dead.”

    Tags:   rabbi jacob g. wienerechoes of memory, volume 4anti-jewish legislationaryanizationimmigrationparents

  • Separation

    After the night of broken glass, when the Nazis organized and carried out a pogrom of anti-Jewish violence, my parents—like most Jews in Germany—wanted to leave. There was no more waiting to find out if events such as Kristallnacht would cease, or if life would ever be normal again for all of us. Our first choice was to come to the United States, where we had cousins living in New York. They were most anxious to assist us by sending us tickets for the voyage and helping us settle in this new land. However, like most countries, the United States had a quota which had been established many years before and, therefore, we found it impossible to immigrate.

    Tags:   susan warsingerechoes of memory, volume 4hidingmemoryparentsfrance

  • Looking for My Father

    I know my father, Adolf Rosenfeld, was born in 1898 in Korb, Germany. Korb is a very small place. He apprenticed as a baker when he was a young teenager. During World War I he was in the army. During his service in the war he lost a leg. Consequently, when he returned to Korb after the war, he could not work as a baker.

    Tags:   esther rosenfeld starobinesther starobinechoes of memory, volume 4life after the holocaustholidaysmemoryparents