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The Auschwitz Collection

This collection of fifteen memoirs and two anthologies represents a fraction of the more than one hundred survivor narratives published by the Azrieli Foundation’s Holocaust Survivor Memoirs program. Each of the books presented here tell of experiences surviving Auschwitz-Birkenau. Memories of Auschwitz might comprise a significant portion of the author’s experience, or an author may depict poignant fragments of significant experiences in the camp. You can also consult our digital resource Re:Collection to view survivor authors’ video clips and read memoir excerpts focusing on their deeply moving experiences. In addition to our published memoirs, memoir excerpts from our digital exhibit Sustaining Memories may also be referenced in your work, and we can provide full memoirs from this partner-assisted writing project. Many of our other memoirs not listed here also reference Auschwitz from a variety of perspectives, so don’t hesitate to reach out with questions if there is something specific you are looking for.

Digital copies of the memoirs can be ordered online and are also available at university libraries in Canada that offer access to the Scholars Portal online ebook collection. Check with your Canadian university library to ensure access to the entire collection through Scholars Portal.

Contact Carson Phillips, Manager of Academic Initiatives, for additional information about the Auschwitz Collection or the academic conference.

Thumb Amek Adler

Six Lost Years

Amek Adler

  • Deported from Radom to Auschwitz-Birkenau in July 1944
  • Not registered into Auschwitz; sent on to Vaihingen, a subcamp of Natzweiler
  • Discusses return to Auschwitz with Jewish students on March of the Living programs

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Thumb Judy Cohen

A Cry in Unison

Judy Cohen

  • Deported from Debrecen ghetto to Auschwitz-Birkenau in June 1944
  • Describes life in women’s barracks BIII (“Mexico”)
  • Initially with her three sisters, then, alone, joins two sisters to survive: “sistering”
  • Deportation to Bergen-Belsen and Aschersleben forced labour camp
  • Focus on gendered experiences and spiritual resistance

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Thumb John Freund

Spring’s End

John Freund

  • Deported from Terezín/ Theresienstadt to Auschwitz-Birkenau in November 1943
  • Describes the brutality of the arrival and selection process
  • Details conditions in Czech Family Camp at Auschwitz for six months, then Men’s Camp until evacuation

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Thumb Anna Molnar Hegedus

As the Lilacs Bloomed

Anna Molnár Hegedűs

  • Deported from Szatmár to Auschwitz-Birkenau in May 1944
  • Written in 1945, first published in 1946 in Hungarian
  • Detailed and nuanced literary style written from the perspective of a wife and mother
  • Focus on gender, camp hierarchy and mother-daughter relationships

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Thumb Johnny Jablon

A Lasting Legacy

Johnny Jablon

  • Deported from Plaszow to Auschwitz-Birkenau in February 1944
  • Death march from Auschwitz-Birkenau to Nazi camps in Austria
  • Survival attributed to Polish linguistic ability, luck and friendship

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Thumb Helena Jockel

We Sang in Hushed Voices

Helena Jockel

  • Deported from Užhorod (Ungvár) ghetto to Auschwitz-Birkenau in spring 1944
  • Death march from Auschwitz-Birkenau to Leipzig and Dresden, Germany
  • Focus on women supporting one another and spiritual resilience

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Thumb Eddie Klein

Inside the Walls

Eddie Klein

  • Deported from Lodz ghetto to Auschwitz-Birkenau in August 1944
  • Kitchen worker and messenger for SS
  • Sent to Sosnowitz subcamp at end of 1944; rapport with German functionaries
  • Unique perspective from a place of relative protection

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Thumb Nate Leipciger

The Weight of Freedom

Nate Leipciger

  • Deported from Sosnowiec ghetto to Auschwitz-Birkenau in August 1943
  • Describes brutality and constant, ever-present threat of death
  • Survives with his father and expresses their changing relationship
  • Deported to various concentration camps; writes of his vulnerability as a pipel

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Thumb Michael Mason

A Name Unbroken

Michael Mason

  • Deported from Monor to Auschwitz-Birkenau in July 1944
  • Poignantly details the shock of the arrival and selection process
  • Recalls liquidation of the “Gypsy Camp”
  • Discusses learning about gas chambers and crematoria and witnessing suicides

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Thumb Felix Opatowski

Gatehouse to Hell

Felix Opatowski

  • Deported from a labour camp near Lodz to Auschwitz-Birkenau in August 1943
  • Detailed stories of fellow prisoners, kapos and commandants
  • Messenger role from Buna to Auschwitz; implicated in Sonderkommando uprising
  • Friendship, trading, smuggling, connections with Polish underground

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Thumb Henia Reinhartz

Bits and Pieces

Henia Reinhartz

  • Deported from Lodz ghetto to Auschwitz-Birkenau in August 1944
  • Unique literary style of describing experiences in short vignettes, as if glimpses of fuller memories
  • Deported from Auschwitz to Sasel, Germany, in October 1944
  • Focus on the importance of being with her mother and sister

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Thumb Judith Rubinstein

Dignity Endures

Judith Rubinstein

  • Deported from Miskolc ghetto to Auschwitz-Birkenau in June 1944
  • Attributes survival to her mother’s sacrifice
  • Observes the Sonderkommando uprising from the unique perspective of a kommando who cleaned the watchtowers

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Thumb Eva Shainblum

The Last Time

Eva Shainblum

  • Deported from Nagyvárad ghetto to Auschwitz-Birkenau in late May 1944
  • Reliance on older sister for support
  • Succinct account; deported to forced labour camp in October 1944

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Thumb Gerta Solan

My Heart Is at Ease

Gerta Solan

  • Deported from Terezín/ Theresienstadt to Auschwitz-Birkenau in October 1944
  • Survival with no family, in children’s block
  • Snapshots of memories

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Thumb Spiro

In Fragile Moments

Zsuzsanna Fischer Spiro

  • Deported from Kisvárda ghetto to Auschwitz-Birkenau in late May 1944
  • Reliance on older sister for support
  • Includes postwar diary entries describing a death march, written in Leipzig, Germany, in 1945

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Confronting Devastation: Memoirs of Holocaust Survivors from Hungary

  • The Miracle of Our Survival, Yittel Nechuma Bineth
  • Eviction and Terror, Sandor (Sam) Grad
  • Amid the Burning Bushes, Ilonka (Helen) Rodak-Iszo
  • Beliefs under Shock, Veronika (Vera) Schwartz

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Before All Memory Is Lost: Women’s Voices from the Holocaust

  • Auschwitz, Fela Yoskovitz-Ross
  • Sometimes I Can Dream Again, Suzanne (Katz) Reich
  • If the World Had Only Acted Sooner, Rebekah (Relli) Schmerler-Katz
  • With Great Pride, Fela Zylberstajn Grachnik
  • To My Daughters, Ida Dimant

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