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

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  • 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

  • Vienna Chanukah 1938

    The first day of Chanukah fell on December 23, just 42 days after the infamous “Night of Broken Glass” (Kristallnacht). That night most of Vienna’s synagogues were torched, Jewish stores were looted and decimated, many homes were broken into, and men were beaten and in some cases arrested and taken to concentration camps. That night was still fresh in memories when the decision was made, nevertheless, to go along with the Chanukah celebration and pageant for which so many of us had rehearsed.

    Tags:   echoes of memory, volume 11alfred traumjewish communities before the warkristallnachtviennaholidays

  • The Kiddush Cup

    It was always the same. Ushering the Sabbath, my father held the silver kiddush cup in the flat palm of his hand with his thumb resting against the brim of the cup, his head held high, eyes half closed as he recited the blessing over the wine. We all took a sip from the cup. That, together with all the other festive traditional activities, was carried out in proper order. Any bystander would have thought this was just an ordinary Friday night in a Jewish home. So it would have seemed. But I am sure that both our parents’ hearts were breaking. My sister and I were leaving for England on the following Tuesday. This would be our last Sabbath dinner together. Although we thought that we would soon be reunited, our parents knew the difficulties that lay ahead. And indeed, it was the last Sabbath meal we shared.

    Tags:   alfred traumechoes of memory, volume 6parentsmemorylife after the holocaustviennaholidays