Holocaust survivors volunteer at the Museum on a regular basis across the institution—engaging with visitors, sharing their personal histories, serving as tour guides, translating historic materials, and more. Their presence is an invaluable asset, and their contributions are vital to the Museum’s mission.

Learn about volunteering at the Museum.

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  • Fanny Aizenberg

    Fanny Aizenberg

    Born: December 3, 1916, Lodz, Poland Died: August 10, 2018, Rockville, MD

    Fanny Aizenberg was born into an Orthodox family in Lodz, Poland. Fanny and her family moved to Brussels, Belgium when she was a young child. One of three daughters, Fanny’s family was very active within their community.

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  • Katie Altenberg

    Katie Altenberg

    Born: 1936, Vienna, Austria

    Katie was born into a Jewish family in Vienna and resided on an estate called Edmunshof in the state of Burgenland bordering Hungary.

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  • David Bayer

    David Bayer

    Born: September 27, 1922, Kozienice, Poland

    David Bayer was born September 27, 1922 to Manes and Sarah Bayer in Kozienice, Poland. Manes owned a shoe factory which supplied stores throughout Poland, and Sarah managed the household and helped in the factory. The second of four children in an observant Jewish family, David spent his days going to school, playing sports and working in his father’s factory.

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  • Bob Behr

    Bob Behr

    Born: March 1, 1922, Berlin, Germany Died: December 28, 2018, Gaithersburg, MD

    Bob lived in Berlin, Germany, with his parents until they divorced. He then lived solely with his mother. Bob attended a boarding school in Germany until 1935 when the Nazis forced the school’s closure.

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  • Ralph Berets

    Ralph Berets

    Born: December 5, 1939, Amersfoort, the Netherlands

    Ralph Berets was born on December 5, 1939, in Amersfoort, the Netherlands. Before his birth, Ralph’s father, Otto, mother, Hilde, and grandparents, fled to Holland from Nazi Germany in 1935. Otto converted many of the family’s assets into diamonds and gold and smuggled them into the Netherlands. Once there, Otto went into the fabric business with an old friend from Germany who had relocated to the area a few years prior. The business was successful and provided the family with a comfortable middle class life style, until the German invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940.

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  • Susan Berlin

    Susan Berlin

    Born: June 22, 1926, Roznava, Slovakia Died: September 5, 2008

    Susan was born an only child to a conservative Jewish family in Roznava, Slovakia. Her mother and father owned a dry-goods store. Susan was thirteen years old when the war began. News of the evils of the concentration camps reached Roznava and Susan’s father decided to take his family out of Slovakia as fast as possible. Her father had a brother in the United States that would assist her family in receiving Visas. They sailed into New York City on the S.S. Washington on August 3, 1939.

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  • Sheila Bernard

    Sheila Bernard

    Born: 1936, Chelm, Poland Died: October 6, 2007

    Sheila was the only child born to Bela and Isaac Peretz in Chelm, Poland. Chelm was a vibrant Jewish community. Before the war, her family owned a large building on Lubelska Street, and Sheila’s father managed a Singer Sewing Machine business. Sheila’s parents both had large, close-knit families, and her childhood was filled with love and joy.

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  • Jacqueline Mendels Birn

    Jacqueline Mendels Birn

    Born: April 23, 1935, Paris, France Died: October 20, 2019, Washington, DC

    Jacqueline and her sister attended the local public school. Their lives were quite normal until Germany invaded Poland and the war broke out.

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  • Elli (Jekel) Carroll

    Elli (Jekel) Carroll

    Born: June 19, 1927, Vienna, Austria Died: January 10, 2015, Washington, DC

    Elli Jekel Carroll was born on June 19, 1927, in Vienna, Austria, to David Jekel and Klara Redisch. After serving in the Austrian army during World War I, David owned a men’s clothing store, while Klara was a homemaker. Elli’s older sister, Margit, was born in 1923. Elli and Margit completed public elementary school and were both in secondary school before the war. Margit had completed five years of secondary school while Elli completed the first six months.

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  • Ruth Cohen

    Ruth Cohen

    Born: April 26, 1930, Mukachevo, Czechoslovakia

    Ruth Cohen was born on April 26, 1930 to Herman and Bertha Friedman in Mukachevo, Czechoslovakia. Herman and his brother were wholesale wine and beer manufacturers. Ruth, her older sister, Teresa, and younger brother, Aharon, often helped to fill bottles on Friday evenings before the Sabbath. The Friedmans were Orthodox Jews as well as Zionists and Ruth and her siblings were sent to the Hebrew Gymnasium, a school where the curriculum was taught entirely in Hebrew.

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