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

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  • A Student in a Nazi School

    I was born a few years before Hitler and his Nazi Party took control of Germany. At first, Jewish youngsters were still allowed to attend German public and high schools. But with Hitler assuming power in 1933, everything changed suddenly, immediately, unannounced.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.”

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  • An Ominous Night Call

    About two weeks after Kristallnacht, my father and I returned to our house in Bremen. During that fateful night, my father had fled over the roofs and had been hiding with family in Hamburg. He was lucky, for if he had been found at home, he would certainly have been taken and sent to a concentration camp like my brother and all other men. I had met my father again in Hamburg when I was released from imprisonment in Würzburg.

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  • Negotiating with the Gestapo

    After Kristallnacht, I returned to my hometown in Bremen, in northwest Germany. A number of Jews had been released from concentration camps. I had been set free after eight days of imprisonment. I was then in Würzburg, Bavaria, where I had gone to school. The Nazis called these arrests “protective custody.” From whom did we need protection?

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  • An Unexpected Letter

    It was the summer of 1997 when I received an unexpected letter and a picture from a former non-Jewish playmate. The picture had been taken by a street photographer and was of a group of neighborhood youngsters near where we lived in Bremen, my hometown. We boys were then about 10 or 15 years old. It was taken shortly before Hitler came to power, when Jewish and non-Jewish children still played together.

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