Born: October 21, 1928 Komarów, Poland
A Child’s Testimony
I wandered almost all night. I was afraid. Every movement in the forest scared me. I was not afraid of ghosts. I was afraid of people.
Born: June 16, 1930 Bardejov, Czechoslovakia
From Generation to Generation
The mountains were almost 3,000 metres high… We had to climb to the peaks, where it was frozen and slippery. One single misstep could mean certain death.
Born: July 21, 1932 Rokitno, Poland
Under the Yellow & Red Stars
I feel my brother’s hand, trembling but strong, grab onto mine. I hear his words, urging me to run, take hold of my body and move my legs. We run, his hand holding mine …to me it feels like freedom.
Born: July 17, 1942 Budapest, Hungary
...I was born during World War II, the horrors had not yet fully reached us.
Born: July 05, 1913 Brandýs nad Labem, Czechoslovakia
Knocking on Every Door
There was a feeling of imminent danger… we were all subject to the mad and ever-changing rules of Hitler’s Germany. We were desperate to find a safe haven.
Born: July 13, 1925 Lodz, Poland
Album of My Life
I am the daughter of nobody. I have no sisters. I am nobody’s granddaughter or daughter-in-law, aunt or cousin. Who am I? My past is all gone. It disappeared….
Anna Molnár Hegedűs
Born: August 02, 1897 Szatmár, Hungary
As the Lilacs Bloomed
Six months have passed since I arrived home. Six months full of hope, waiting, heart-gripping anxiety and dark despair.
Born: June 25, 1930 Warsaw, Poland
Two close calls in one day were enough for me. I realized that the uprising was not like the games I played with Józek before the war. This was a very real battle, in which people were being killed and wounded.
Born: June 10, 1923 Zduńska Wola, Poland
Little Girl Lost
The more we felt the Germans’ heavy boots in our lives, the more I knew that I had to leave… but I was scared. Where was I going to go? What would I live on?
Born: December 09, 1920 Kozowa, Poland
Joy Runs Deeper
When Josio came into my room he was stunned. I will never forget the look on his face – he could not believe that I was alive. I couldn't understand it myself. I believe it was fate.
Born: January 25, 1936 Rotterdam, Netherlands
The Hidden Package
When I opened the parcel, I was confronted with the past, memories long forgotten. The letters and drawings described happy as well as sad moments while Ollie and I were in hiding and separated from Mam and Pap.
Born: December 11, 1919 Chmielnik, Poland
The more we endured, the stronger our will to live became. This was our resistance against the degradation.
Kitty Salsberg & Ellen Foster
Born: November 14, 1932 Budapest, Hungary
Never Far Apart
After all those terrible years when I so fiercely protected her and she clung to me for love and security, those “wise” social workers separated us, leaving us each to manage on our own in a strange environment.
Born: January 10, 1923 Pruszków, Poland
If Only It Were Fiction
Only a miracle could save me now. What God would accept my prayers? I was a fraud. I carried forged documents. I lied all the time. I wasn't who I said I was. But I wanted to live.
Eva Felsenburg Marx
Born: October 21, 1937 Brno, Czechoslovakia
One of the Lucky Ones
My mother always credited my father for his keen instinct of self-preservation. “He saved our lives,” she said. “Without him we wouldn’t be here.”
Born: July 03, 1939 Budapest, Hungary
Suddenly the Shadow Fell
One day, we didn’t manage to get away and were marched all along the banks of the Danube. We had no idea where they were taking us... I saw bodies falling into the river...
Born: June 15, 1924 Lodz, Poland
Gatehouse to Hell
I was stubborn. I didn’t want to stay in Auschwitz. I didn’t want to go to the gas chambers.... I didn’t want to die there, and I kept pushing back.
Born: September 25, 1931 Vatra Dornei, Romania
Across the Rivers of Memory
I had the uncanny feeling that the writing of this book to bear witness and expose the horrors of Transnistria to the world at large was my life's meaning and the purpose of my survival.
Born: February 28, 1926 Leipzig, Germany
A Drastic Turn of Destiny
In Germany I was “Jewboy”; in Brussels I was “boche”; in France I was “undesirable”; in Portugal I was a “refugee”; and in Jamaica I was simply a non-entity… I was a pariah in an exploding world.
Born: April 21, 1931 Újpest, Hungary
As soon as I heard the airplane engines I ran upstairs to watch the bombers approaching. It was dangerous, but I wasn’t scared. I prayed to God that those American planes would destroy the Nazis and the factories so we all could be free again.
Born: December 06, 1929 Prague, Czechoslovakia
My Heart Is At Ease
We played a game of nostalgia, recalling memories of the past to forget, for a while, the terrible present.... The siren at 5:00 a.m. woke us to the morning reality of roll call. We each wondered if we were going to be given another day of life.
Born: October 23, 1919 Mukačevo, Czechoslovakia
We Sang in Hushed Voices
In Auschwitz I was told that in two hours they could kill two thousand people…
Born: November 03, 1926 Lodz, Poland
Bits and Pieces
My family and I were in hiding. Suddenly I heard someone panting on the stairs … we didn’t breathe. Who was coming now?
Born: June 06, 1930 České Budějovice, Czechoslovakia
Into a new world I was brought by a dream
Never to see blood spilled again
But can I really throw away
The dreams that soiled my youth?
Born: April 01, 1913 Kozowa, Poland
Joy Runs Deeper
I started to feel anxious about trusting my six Ukrainian companions. All I could think of was escaping. Still, they didn’t give me away. I do not know, to this day, why they did not hand me over to the Germans. For this reason, I have to believe that there is a God.
Born: April 28, 1937 Budapest, Hungary
I had always liked to play make-believe, but somehow they made me understand that this game was real. I never gave away my secret.
Born: February 20, 1927 Nádudvar, Hungary
Suddenly the Shadow Fell
That night, a fierce air battle developed around and above our train. Guns were blazing, bombs were falling…. In the morning, instead of the enemy, US soldiers found us and heard our cries: “Oh God, we are free!”
Born: February 18, 1924 Ajak, Hungary
Alone in the Storm
Writing opened the lid of my box of buried memories. Looking back at my long life’s journey, I am dizzy contemplating the rough road and the distance I have travelled.
Born: June 20, 1928 Otwock, Poland
Fleeing from the Hunter
I asked myself, Am I a criminal doomed for execution? I was determined to run away… that thought never left my mind.
Born: November 12, 1921 Warsaw, Poland
If Home Is Not Here
I dove into the frigid river, the sudden shock leaving me gasping.... Somehow, I managed to reach the shore – the unoccupied zone of France and my entry into freedom.
Born: November 21, 1930 Nieśwież, Poland
If, By Miracle
I didn’t see anyone outside the pit, so I jumped out…. I had the feeling that my mother was running beside me and calling out to me, “Michael, run faster and don’t look back!"
Born: September 14, 1928 Beregszász, Czechoslovakia
A Name Unbroken
I felt reborn, until I looked in the mirror and could not recognize myself. I was skin and bones. The person who looked back at me in the mirror was a scared-looking, skinny little boy, not the person I thought I was.
Born: December 05, 1931 Paris, France
Where Courage Lives
Everyone in Champlost had a hand in hiding us.
Born: November 30, 1927 Chorzów, Poland
The Weight of Freedom
To avoid thinking I repeated the words “after the war.” The words stuck in my mind like a mantra. After the war. The words blended into the clang of the wheels. Will there ever be an end to the war? It did not seem possible. I could hardly remember when there was no war.
Born: October 23, 1929 Antwerp, Belgium
E/96: Fate Undecided
"Don’t move. Don’t open the door.” My knees had turned to jelly and I was trembling uncontrollably…. Sina grabbed her raincoat and declared, “I’m leaving. They’ll be back and I don’t want to end up in a camp.”
Born: April 24, 1935 Turka, Poland
There was no room for standing or moving. When one person had to turn, all of us had to. The deeper we were inside the bunker, the less air we had.…We were not allowed to use our voices to speak. We could only communicate by moving our lips. Turn. Whisper. Turn.
Born: February 28, 1941 Stanislawów, Poland
But I Had A Happy Childhood
The long shadow of the Holocaust touched my life and even reached into the lives of my children...
Born: November 10, 1933 Vilna, Lithuania
Traces of What Was
It was at the end of March 1944, on a cool, bright and sunny day, the beginning of spring, the time of renewal of life, that the SS came to take the children.
Born: April 17, 1925 Budapest, Hungary
Getting Out Alive
He pointed his gun and bayonet at me and ordered me to stop, my jaw was bleeding, hanging down. I could not speak and I was shivering.
Born: January 06, 1911 Stanislawów, Poland
Memories From the Abyss
...the tragic decade of our lives during the war and its aftermath came to a close. We entered a new era with great hopes.
Born: September 15, 1919 Wolbrom, Poland
The Shadows Behind Me
I was surprised that Oskar Schindler, a German industrialist, would talk to me not as a Jew but as a normal person…. I thought that I must be having a nice dream.
Born: August 29, 1924 Humenné, Czechoslovakia
For the second time, I found myself about to be interrogated…. I wouldn’t confess to being Jewish this time, knowing it would mean certain death. How could I die now, after all we had managed to get through? I would not allow myself to die by their bloody hands. These thoughts pumped courage into my veins.
Born: December 11, 1916 Pécs, Hungary
"Don't cry, darling. We need this baby. You'll see."
Born: September 16, 1927 Nagyvárad, Hungary
The Last Time
All we wanted was to be together, but not together like this. We could not get out.
Zsuzsanna Fischer Spiro
Born: November 18, 1925 Tornyospálca, Hungary
In Fragile Moments
I am no longer who I used to be... All I have left is hope.
Born: May 30, 1927 Sieradz, Poland
Inside the Walls
Rumkowski still remains shrouded in mystery and much controversy, and though my own view may be biased, I am convinced that he cared deeply about the Jews in the ghetto.
Born: July 13, 1912 Dukla, Poland
The Vale of Tears
My tears, like the words of the prayer, fell like fresh dew: pure, delicate, unadulterated, honest words, and pure, delicate, unadulterated, honest tears.
Born: June 04, 1931 Smolensk, Russia
Behind the Red Curtain
As I looked at the postcard with a view of my native town, I recognized the exact place where I had been standing late at night, sixty years earlier, sobbing violently in fear and despair because I had nowhere to go.
Born: April 20, 1928 Lublin, Poland
Six Lost Years
I had watched my family being torn apart and degraded, and I had feared for my life. I was heartbroken, but I had been hardened, and I had learned not to cry.
Born: October 27, 1930 Krakow, Poland
Buried Words: The Diary of Molly Applebaum
When I looked at the world with the eyes of a child it appeared so rose-coloured... and now? I am happy when I survive another day and I await the next in fear. When is it going to end? Are we even going to live until the end?
Margrit Rosenberg Stenge
Born: December 27, 1928 Cologne, Germany
News travels fast in the countryside, and when I started school many of the villagers knew that we were Jewish, although they really did not know what that meant.
Marguerite Élias Quddus
Born: December 04, 1936 Paris, France
I’m ready, but I’m overcome with sadness. Mama hugs us and kisses us: “Goodbye, children! Go, and don’t look back….”
Born: March 25, 1934 Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
A Childhood Adrift
Holding me kicking and screaming, that brute ran toward the awaiting train, past Mama, whom I saw being dragged over the floor struggling and crying. The entire station was a scene of bedlam, with men, women and children being pulled, shoved and hurled into the train….
Born: July 21, 1932 Lodz, Poland
Memories in Focus
I don’t know why I wasn’t afraid. I think my mind just went blank. I had no feelings at all. I had disengaged myself from what was happening around me. It was as if my eyes were cameras and my brain was the screen. I just recorded everything, without emotion or participation.
Born: May 25, 1920 Trstena Orava, Czechoslovakia
From Loss to Liberation
At first we weren’t sure what was happening, but by looking through a small ventilation pipe we soon found out. We saw the Germans, who had followed our footsteps in the snow. There was no way out.
Born: September 19, 1920 Mezőcsát, Hungary
What they told us was a lie. After several days of travelling under the most degrading conditions, broken in spirit, hungry and dying of thirst, stripped of our human dignity, we finally arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau, a place we had never heard of before.
Born: May 19, 1932 Budapest, Hungary
I want the next generations to know about these bright points that we can be proud of, and honour ourselves and our names. We need every point of light that we can find.
Born: June 01, 1930 Buczacz, Poland
Chaos to Canvas
The only sounds breaking the grim silence of the forest were the chirping of birds and occasionally the cry of an animal. It seemed that I was the only human being on earth. I became intensely aware of the world around me and would imagine shapes and dream of travelling through endless space. I created my own little world of safety.
Born: April 15, 1918 Dubno, Poland
A Part of Me
My young daughter and I were now totally alone, relying on my own strength and the caprice of fate. I ran out of the house with my beloved Lucy in my arms, this helpless little being who depended on me for solace, comfort and protection. I hoped that God would not desert us.
Born: March 08, 1928 Kovno (Kaunas), Lithuania
Flights of Spirit
I had a lot of time to think and I had many questions: How does it feel to die? Does the brain go on working for a time after the heart stops? My mother was a strong woman and I trusted her, but would she have the strength to give me, her only child, the first injection?
Born: June 17, 1926 Leipzig, Germany
The officer inspecting my papers addressed me in German and in response I convincingly faked my lack of understanding. I was relieved that I was able to calmly withstand my first test in the art of deception, as many more tests of my nerves were yet to follow.
Born: October 22, 1927 Chorzów, Poland
Carry the Torch
Being only a teenager, I was not as intuitive as my mother. I didn’t want to be separated from her, and I was confused by her actions and what I saw as the needless pain they caused me. But I would come to realize that her selflessness and sacrifice saved my life.
Born: January 20, 1926 Krakow, Poland
A Lasting Legacy
Commandant Göth singled out a man from the line and shot him for no apparent reason at all. Göth then turned to the next person and asked, “Why are you staring at me so stupidly?” And he shot him as well.
Born: July 09, 1931 Gödöllő, Hungary
A Tapestry of Survival
There were many close calls, and I think it took quick thinking and miraculous escapes to survive those times, as well as a strong will to live.
Born: February 24, 1934 Cluj, Romania
In Search of Light
"I understood that we were different, that we were considered as aliens — more correctly, enemy aliens — and that there was a different set of rules for us."
Born: July 18, 1934 Lwów, Poland (now Ukraine)
Always Remember Who You Are
I had to assume a completely new identity and forget who I had been. And the family immediately began to teach me how to be a Catholic.