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

Blog Home > refugees

  • Ukraine-Czech Exodus

    My dad and I moved briskly toward the Sudbahnhof railroad station in Vienna. We entered the large concourse with its five platforms, large bow windows, and very high ceiling of wooden beams. It was also the home of countless pigeons flying at will throughout the building.

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 14peter steinrefugeesczechoslovakialife after the holocaustwarcontemporary eventsvienna

  • New Life

    The war was over. The Germans were gone, the Soviets were still with us and didn’t give any sign of leaving Poland, but our lives were no longer in danger.

    I was in the hospital recovering from the bomb shrapnel that wounded my hand. When Mother found Father in Tel Aviv, we expected him to come and get us, but he sent my cousin Arye instead to navigate our trip out of Poland. 

    Tags:   halina yasharoff peabodyechoes of memory, volume 14life after the holocaustimmigrationrefugeespolandunited kingdom

  • Leaving Nazi Germany

    In 1938, my family was living in Berlin while the Nazis were intensifying the repression and violence against Jews. Late that summer, my father took my two siblings on a train to Aachen, a spa city near the borders of Belgium and the Netherlands. My sister, Rosi, was ten years old and my brother, Mani, was a year younger. I was just one year old, so my mother and I stayed home. During the train ride, Rosi shared with Mani what she had overheard at home: this was not a vacation as they had been told. As a matter of fact, they were going to Aachen to cross the border into Belgium. 

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 12harry markowiczanti-jewish legislationescaperefugees

  • In Transit, Spain

    We had been heading downhill for what seemed an unending ordeal, and as dawn at last approached, we quietly entered a town that was most assuredly asleep. Our guides led us into a tavern in the middle of Puigcerdà—just barely inside Spain—actually only about six miles southeast from our starting point. We gathered several chairs together as a barricade, in the main dining room of the inn, and immediately fell asleep behind them. When we awoke, daylight penetrated the inn through the window shutters, but the shop was closed with most of the chairs stacked upside down on the tables.

    Tags:   michel margosisechoes of memory, volume 9jdcrefugeesspainmemory

  • Dunkirk: May 1940

    Following the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, Britain and France declared war on Germany. The British Expeditionary Force was posted at the French-Belgian border to prevent Germany from invading France. Between the two world wars, France had built the Maginot Line—formidable fortifications along its border with Germany. On May 10, 1940, Germany invaded the neutral countries of Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands in order to bypass the Maginot Line and to invade France where its defenses were weakest. British troops then moved into Belgium to try to stop the German advance toward France.

    Tags:   harry markowiczechoes of memory, volume 7belgiumfrancerefugeesmemoryparents

  • The Happiest Day in My Life

    Luckily, I have had more than one happy day in my life. One such day was when I visited Israel for the first time. I was excited and apprehensive about the trip because I knew so little about Israel. I wondered what the country looked like and how it would make me feel.

    Tags:   halina yasharoff peabodyechoes of memory, volume 6israellife after the holocaustfamilyrefugees