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

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  • To Be a Free People in Our Land

    As long as the Jewish spirit is yearning deep in the heart, 
    With eyes turned toward the East, looking toward Zion, 
    Then our hope—the two-thousand-year-old hope—will not be lost: 
    To be a free people in our land, 
    The land of Zion and Jerusalem. 
    “Hatikvah” (National Anthem of Israel) 

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 12peter gorog

  • Millennials and the Holocaust

    Headlines from the American media in April 2018 after a Holocaust-related survey was published: 

    “Holocaust study: Two-thirds of millennials don’t know what Auschwitz is” (Washington Post, April 12, 2018) 

    “4 in 10 millennials don’t know 6 million Jews were killed in Holocaust, study shows” (CBS News, April 12, 2018) 

    “Holocaust Is Fading From Memory, Survey Finds” (New York Times, April 12, 2018) 

    “The Startling Statistics About People’s Holocaust Knowledge” (NPR, April 14, 2018) 

    “Why We’re Forgetting the Holocaust” (New York Post, April 15, 2018) 

    “Study Shows Americans are Forgetting about the Holocaust” (NBC News, April 12, 2018)

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 12peter gorog

  • History Repeating Itself

    On May 5, 2019, I was one of two speakers at a Yom Hashoah commemoration in Denver, Colorado. The gathering could not have been more timely. When I saw the printed program for the first time the day before, I was glad to see that someone had titled my presentation, “Surviving Mass Genocide. Anti-Semitism; History Repeating Itself.” Great title, although I thought I might have put a question mark at the end, as I was not ready to make such an affirmative statement. I would have raised it as a question: “Is History Repeating Itself?” 

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 12peter gorog

  • What You Do Matters: A Letter to My Family

    I have been planning for a while to share with you some of the emails, cards, and Facebook postings I receive after I lead a tour at the Museum or give a speaking engagement. I have been reluctant to share the feedback because it might seem boastful, like I’m bragging or self-aggrandizing. I only got over my reluctance very recently after the Kennedy Center cast of An American in Paris (more than 30 people!) came to the Museum and another survivor, Marty Weiss, and I gave them a tour. They were the most attentive and responsive group I have ever led on a tour. They were the friendliest, most down-to-earth people you have ever met, without any celebrity attitude. 

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 11peter gorog

  • Enduring Melodies

    If someone could grant me one wish, I would ask, without hesitation, for perfect pitch. The people I envy are the ones who can play music by ear. I love music and would love to be able to play an instrument, any instrument. Although if a second request would be honored, my choice of instrument would be cello or maybe clarinet. 

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 11peter gorog

  • Did Your Mom Pray during the Holocaust?

    “Did your mom pray during the Holocaust?” asked an 8th-grade student after one of my presentations at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. I was surprised hearing this question, and while I tried to compose my answer, I also tried to figure out what prompted her to ask it.

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 11peter gorog

  • Were They Crazy?

    “Are you crazy?” was the most frequently heard question by my parents from those who learned that my mother was pregnant with me. Under normal circumstances, no one should pose this question when a new child is about to be born. But, those were not normal circumstances, and neither was the time nor the place. The time was fall 1940; the place was Budapest, Hungary; and my parents were Jewish. In defense of those who questioned the sanity of my parents, here are some reasons why this question was not completely out of place.

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 10peter gorog

  • Thank You, Father

    How can you say “thank you” to someone who gave you the most precious thing anyone can have: your own life? And, what if you never had a chance to get to know him? This is a question I face a few times every year, when our Jewish traditions compel us to remember those loved ones who are not with us anymore.

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 10peter gorog

  • The Death Certificate That Saved Our Lives

    Recently I heard someone saying that the Holocaust Museum, among many other things, is a grave for those who do not have a grave. I could immediately identify with the sentiment, because my father does not have a known grave that I am obliged to visit on his yahrzeit, the anniversary of a parent’s death in Jewish custom. As a matter of fact, we cannot even observe a proper yahrzeit because we do not know the date of his death.

    Tags:   peter gorogechoes of memory, volume 9

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