I imagine that my grandchildren’s generation, and certainly that of my great-grandchildren, will not be able to picture a life without even the simplest of the luxuries we have now. I am certain that when people I meet hear that I was raised in Mukačevo, they imagine it to be a shtetl, with little huts or little houses, without running water or electricity, and with mud-filled streets, with people pushing carts or horses pulling small or large carriages. Mukačevo doesn’t look like this now, nor did it look like this in the 1930s.
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Read reflections and testimonies written by Holocaust survivors in their own words.
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I know that I am very good at many, many things. I am a good wife, mother, friend, worker, and was very good at sports, mostly tennis. But …
There is no place in this world that I find myself where I would not be reminded of the dear, wonderful people who filled my near and distant life with so much love and so many good things.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.