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

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  • Racism

    I was affected by racism from my birth. When I was two years old, my native France was invaded by her neighbor, Germany, who immediately started to implement anti-Jewish laws that affected me before I was old enough to know it. First, we were expelled from our home, which was the janitor’s house of the garment factory where my father worked as an accountant. We had to find an apartment overnight, in the middle of the war and in the midst of a terrible housing crisis. I was four years old.

    Tags:   albert garihechoes of memory, volume 14anti-jewish legislationfranceantisemitismracismlife after the holocaust

  • Living Up to Our Values

    When I arrived in the United States after World War II at age 16, I was very anxious to move on with my life and not let my experiences during the Holocaust define me. I got a job in a grocery store and with help from my brother-in-law, I rented a room from a Hungarian family so I could be independent. That helped because I spoke Hungarian. My biggest problem was I did not speak or understand a word of English. So, I enrolled in night school. I was taught English, but also learned about US history and the Constitution. The teacher, Mrs. Durst, was a very nice, elderly lady who stressed how great American democracy is, that we are a country of laws. I knew about democracy because I grew up in Czechoslovakia and I went to Czech schools until the fourth grade. Then the war started and our school was closed.

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 11martin weisslife after the holocaustracismunited statesvolunteering at the museum

  • Courage

    There are so many forms of courage in our lives. It starts when we are very young, for instance: taking that first step as a little child. Lifting one foot and standing on the other foot, putting the lifted foot forward and down to the floor, all the time trusting the foot and leg; will it hold me until the other foot helps support me again? Will I fall, or will it work out?

    Tags:   louise lawrence-israëlslouise lawrence israëlsechoes of memory, volume 9racismvolunteering at the museum

  • Democracy without Equality

    Since I moved from New Jersey to the Washington, DC, area and was given the opportunity to visit the United States Capitol Rotunda in observance of Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), I can’t help getting in touch with my memories and emotions on many levels.

    Tags:   martin weissechoes of memory, volume 7life after the holocaustracismus army