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

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  • Reunited

    I was asked to speak in the Hall of Remembrance at the Museum’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. After all these years of never wanting to speak in a large public setting, I was hesitant. Yet, one day as I was driving, I suddenly saw myself speaking at a lectern and knew that I had decided to say yes to the request.

    Tags:   ruth cohenechoes of memory, volume 13

  • My Friends Sidi and Milek Natansohn

    I met Sidi (Sidonia) in July 1948 at my first job in this country. I arrived in the United States in April 1948. We worked side by side as floor girls in a clothing factory and quickly became good friends. We talked a lot as we were working, but I got caught talking and was fired as a result. 

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 12ruth cohen

  • My Paternal Grandparents

    My maternal Bubbe and Zeyde (Yiddish for grandmother and grandfather) died before I was born, so I want to write about the grandparents who I knew—my father’s parents.

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 11ruth cohen

  • A New Era Arrived

    In 2011 I was surprised to get an email from someone in Philadelphia asking me to get in contact with a Mr. Thomas Walther, an attorney in Germany. He was one of two main prosecutors of World War II criminals active at that time. When we finally talked, he asked me if I would be willing to join a group of Auschwitz survivors who were being asked to fill out testimonials stating that Oscar Groening had been the bookkeeper in Auschwitz during the time I was there. He did not promise a positive outcome of the trial but promised that they would put their best effort forward.

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 11ruth cohen

  • Life Is Good

    Ruth Cohen, from Mukachevo, Czechoslovakia, was first imprisoned with her sister in Auschwitz in April 1944, then several other concentration and work camps beginning in October of the same year.

    Tags:   ruth cohenechoes of memory, volume 9

  • Silence

    When my dad and I arrived in the United States to be with our loving family on April 26, 1948, I was surprised—but not unhappy—that not one person asked me about our experience during the war. I understand that they were all mourning their six sisters, brothers, and other family lost in the Holocaust, but I presume that their silence was out of consideration for me.

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 10ruth cohen

  • My Grandparents

    My paternal grandfather was a tall, kind, handsome man with a sweet smile and a beautiful beard. I was about seven years old when he died, but my memory of his funeral is very clear. The whole street was full of people paying their respects to him. He was an ombudsman after he retired from his business career. My grandmother was not very tall. She was also always smiling, but she was a very strict woman who also had her own business. We spent all the holidays at my grandparents’ table. The extended family was large, and so was the table.

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 10ruth cohen

  • A New Era

    In 2011, I was surprised to get an e-mail from someone in Philadelphia asking me to get in contact with a Mr. Thomas Walther, an attorney in Germany. He was one of two main prosecutors of World War II criminals. When we finally talked, he asked me if I would be willing to join a group of Auschwitz survivors who were being asked to fill out testimonials that Oscar Groening had been the bookkeeper in Auschwitz during the time I was there. He did not promise a positive outcome of the trial, but he promised that they would put forth their best effort.

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 10ruth cohen

  • The Town I Used to Call My Home

    The town I was born and raised in, Mukachevo, Czechoslovakia, was modern as well as quite old fashioned. There were horses and buggies bringing in wares from the neighboring farms to sell in the very large open market, which was filled with stalls and pushcarts. Cars and trucks also drove around the town. We also had telephones, although not in every house, but as I remember in all businesses. The town also had a theater.

    Tags:   ruth cohenechoes of memory, volume 7

  • My Dream of America

    My grandmother lived with us after my grandfather died in 1937. My parents did not want her to live by herself in my grandparents’ house. Among many other things she taught us as young children was the song “Old Man River” from Showboat, the song made famous by Paul Robeson. She also told us that in America each person, rich or poor, whatever race or religion, was equal. As a young child I certainly believed her.

    Tags:   ruth cohenechoes of memory, volume 7

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