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

Page 4 of 39
  • Home

    The places I am longing to see again. There is a different longing for a place you know—to be able to visit any time you decide to. The longing is even greater when you know for sure you're not to see that place again. The reason is the danger of flying while having three stents in my heart with instructions not to get on a plane again.

  • Racism

    I was affected by racism from my birth. When I was two years old, my native France was invaded by her neighbor, Germany, who immediately started to implement anti-Jewish laws that affected me before I was old enough to know it. First, we were expelled from our home, which was the janitor’s house of the garment factory where my father worked as an accountant. We had to find an apartment overnight, in the middle of the war and in the midst of a terrible housing crisis. I was four years old.

  • Mireille

    It was in the spring of 1944 during the time after my father had been taken to a slave labor camp, where he was assigned to building the Atlantic Wall to stop the Allies’ invasion. My mother, my sisters, and I were staying with the Galop family who had offered to take us into hiding so we wouldn’t be arrested and deported by the Gestapo, the French police, or the French militia. Monsieur Galop, who was a very talented builder—his job was to build sets for the movie studios—had erected a small shelter in their yard for our protection against the bombardments. I don’t think that flimsy construction would have saved us if a bomb had fallen in their yard, but it gave us comfort in case of danger.

  • My First Theatrical Experience

    When I was 11 years old, my sisters took me to the Comédie Française to see Cyrano de Bergerac. It was the first time I went to a theater, and I had no idea what the play was about. I was immediately sold on the theater and on Cyrano, a man with a long nose, not handsome, not so particular about how he dressed, but, as he says to this vain interlocutor who has the nerve to provoke him by telling him that he has a long nose, “Me, it is morally that I have my elegance.” The whole play is about how he is morally elegant, almost heroic when Roxane, his cousin, the lady with whom he is so deeply in love, tells him that she is in love with someone else. Instead of behaving like a jealous, dismissed lover, he pairs with his rival and, together, they work towards making Roxane fall in love with “their” eloquence. That night at the theater, Cyrano became my hero, a role model I would try to emulate all my life, trying to make the best of a disillusion.

  • Incident at the Brook

    This was yet another home in which my father left me. The caretakers had accepted the payment and believed my father’s story. I was not worried about them. It was the neighbors and friends who posed a danger. The community was small, and seeing a new child in their midst created curiosity and suspicion.  

  • How My Father’s Force of Spirit Willed Us to Live: His Puzzling Dream and Bravery

    Dear reader, did you see my father’s eyes darting fire? It is here in this book, a photograph of him with a mustache. He was the one who saved us. He turned desperation into defiance. He carried us over the inescapable and he did it from a distance. His will to live drove us. My mother listened to his words, and I sensed him in my spirit. He actually willed us to live. His eyes never regained that mellow look, not until the war was over. He was polite with people, passing as my mother’s caring friend. He never gave himself away in any manner, except that his eyes burned.