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

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  • Leaving Nazi Germany

    In 1938, my family was living in Berlin while the Nazis were intensifying the repression and violence against Jews. Late that summer, my father took my two siblings on a train to Aachen, a spa city near the borders of Belgium and the Netherlands. My sister, Rosi, was ten years old and my brother, Mani, was a year younger. I was just one year old, so my mother and I stayed home. During the train ride, Rosi shared with Mani what she had overheard at home: this was not a vacation as they had been told. As a matter of fact, they were going to Aachen to cross the border into Belgium. 

  • In Transit, Spain

    We had been heading downhill for what seemed an unending ordeal, and as dawn at last approached, we quietly entered a town that was most assuredly asleep. Our guides led us into a tavern in the middle of Puigcerdà—just barely inside Spain—actually only about six miles southeast from our starting point. We gathered several chairs together as a barricade, in the main dining room of the inn, and immediately fell asleep behind them. When we awoke, daylight penetrated the inn through the window shutters, but the shop was closed with most of the chairs stacked upside down on the tables.

  • Dunkirk: May 1940

    Following the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, Britain and France declared war on Germany. The British Expeditionary Force was posted at the French-Belgian border to prevent Germany from invading France. Between the two world wars, France had built the Maginot Line—formidable fortifications along its border with Germany. On May 10, 1940, Germany invaded the neutral countries of Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands in order to bypass the Maginot Line and to invade France where its defenses were weakest. British troops then moved into Belgium to try to stop the German advance toward France.