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

Blog Home > susan warsinger

Page 1 of 3

  • Bridges

    The cabinet in my dining room was filled with tchotchkes. All those trinkets were scattered on four shelves in no particular order and, therefore, it was exceptionally difficult to find anything. In order to retrieve a particular dish that I wanted to use, I needed to take out numerous items that all ended up cluttered on the floor. On one occasion, I decided it was a perfect time to throw out some of these objects that had been slumbering there for many years.

    Tags:   susan warsingerechoes of memory, volume 13

  • Letter to Tansi

    We, the survivors who volunteer at the United States Holocaust Museum, often receive letters from students who wish to engage with a Holocaust survivor as part of a school project. Tansi is a 15-year-old sophomore in high school in California. She must have researched our survivor biographies and been moved by my experience and wanted to learn more. Her sensitive letter prompted me to reply to her and praise her for her perceptive questions.

    Tags:   susan warsingerechoes of memory, volume 13

  • Zooming

    We go on with our lives even though everything has changed because of the coronavirus. It has affected our physical connection with the outside world. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, like all the other museums in Washington, DC, has been closed since March. I miss riding on the metro and taking an Uber to give my talks to our visitors, giving tours, going to my Echoes of Memory writing workshops, and attending the survivor meetings. However, in the middle of this dark time in the world, it did not stop the Museum from sending out its message.

    Tags:   susan warsingerechoes of memory, volume 13

  • A Moment of Great Joy

    After two weeks of sailing on the Atlantic Ocean, the Serpa Pinto moved deliberately towards the shore of our new destination, the United States of America. The 50 immigrant children, including my brother Joe and me, were informed that early the next morning we would be cruising past the Statue of Liberty. The instructions were that we should be at the bow of the ship, on the port side, before 6 a.m. in order to obtain a good view. We understood that this statue was the universal symbol of freedom and represented the United States itself.

    Tags:   susan warsingerechoes of memory, volume 13

  • My Favorite Language

    My first language, my mother tongue, was German. As a young girl living in Bad Kreuznach, Germany, I spoke only German with my parents and my friends. I attended first grade in the German public school shortly after the Nazis came into power. My teacher read Der Giftpilz (The Poisonous Mushroom) and the children made fun of me because I was Jewish. By 1938, I heard a considerable amount of Nazi propaganda on the radio and all around me. Therefore, the German language was something that I came to fear. It was uncomfortable for me to hear it even as an adult, far away from Germany, safe from past experiences. My family did not speak German here in the United States because we wanted to become Americans and learn English so that no one would make fun of us. When people spoke to me in German, I always answered in English. My vocabulary and reading level at the present time in that language is not much higher than Ashenproedel (Cinderella) and other fairy tales. Now, in the autumn of my life, I feel that it is about time that I toss away this aversion to my mother tongue, though it is still difficult. 

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 12susan warsinger

  • Another View of a Survivor

    The survivors who volunteer at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum were notified about a new project to help younger audiences relate to us and I thought it was a fine idea. We were told that members of the Museum’s marketing team had conceptualized a new video series. They envisioned a casual video conversation with us, focusing on parts of our life beyond the Holocaust, “something you are passionate about—a hobby, a moment in your career, or events or experiences that show a more complete view of who you are as people, as individuals.” 

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 12susan warsinger

  • Schiffchen oder Hütchen (Little Boat or Little Hat)

    I always marvel at the ability that my friends and colleagues have to remember the small details of their childhood. I, too, want to see the world the way I experienced it when I was a very young girl. For me, it is just so difficult to recollect, a demand on my mind. I am sure that it is not because I want to erase it due to what I went through. I just worry because I cannot remember. It makes me feel good when my daughter, Terese, assures me that it is “because there is just a lot to remember.”

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 11susan warsinger

  • Rosh Hashanah This Year

    In previous years, my daughters and their husbands, my grandchildren, and other family members celebrated the beginning of the new Jewish year with a great feast. I took it for granted that we would always have our Jewishness in common. This year, the Jewish year of 5778, another new member has been added to our family. Her name is Sehar, a beautiful and intelligent young woman who recently married my oldest grandchild, Matthew. She is Indian and Muslim. I have learned some Indian and Muslim customs since meeting her family, especially during the preparations for the wedding.

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 11susan warsinger

  • Pocahontas, Arkansas

    It had been a long time since the Speakers Bureau of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum requested that I give a presentation in a far-off place, so when I received an e-mail asking me to go to Pocahontas, Arkansas, I was delighted. The trip was sponsored by Black River Technical College, and I was scheduled to give three lectures to 800 people at each session. It was to be a four-day trip: two days to get there and back, and two days for the speeches themselves. Museum staff member Emily Potter accompanied me on the trip.

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 10susan warsinger

  • Children Far Away

    Last week I had a wonderful opportunity to peer back deep into my memory when Emily Potter asked me to engage in a videoconference with 35 eighth- and tenth-grade students at Costa Rica’s La Paz School. I felt sure that I was going to be an interesting object in the eyes of those students while recording the conference, sitting in the room where our artistically boundless writers of Echoes of Memory meetings take place, at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

    Tags:   susan warsingerechoes of memory, volume 10

Page 1 of 3