Eyewitness To Historytedsilv2020-05-27T08:18:22-04:00
Project Witness is dedicated to preserving the stories of those who survived the Holocaust with our Eyewitness to History program and we have made documenting these stories our highest priority. To submit your story, please click here.
Please note this section includes interviews that were submitted and conducted by the survivors’ family members. They are presented in their raw unedited form on the Project Witness website so we can bear witness to their testimony.
CHILDREN OF THE LAGER
This is the story about the children of the survivors. Although they had not suffered the Holocaust, these children were often survivors themselves, victims of the Nazi hell that their parents had.
This is the story about the children of the survivors. Although they had not suffered the Holocaust, these children were often survivors themselves, victims of the Nazi hell that their parents had escaped in body but never in spirit. This account, culled from numerous conversations with other children of survivors is, first and foremost, the story of my life as a child of Holocaust survivors.
Many years ago, I discovered a 1972 New York Times article by Helen Epstein covering the issue of the “second generation” after the Holocaust. This story is my response.
INTERNATIONAL HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY
On Shabbos, January 27, 1945 in midst of a snowstorm Soviet troops arrived to the town of Oswiecim, Poland and liberated Auschwitz, Birkenau and Monowitz. In the weeks prior, more than 60,000. READ MORE
On Shabbos, January 27, 1945 in midst of a snowstorm Soviet troops arrived to the town of Oswiecim, Poland and liberated Auschwitz, Birkenau and Monowitz. In the weeks prior, more than 60,000 inmates, mostly Jewish prisoners were forced by the Nazis to march toward Germany. Some 7,000 prisoners in severely poor condition remained.
By mid morning the snowstorm passed. The Soviet soldiers came face to face with the horrors of Auschwitz. The reports on Auschwitz was first published in Pravda on February 2, 1945 and then reported in the New York Times.
“Saved from “Murder Factory”
Moscow, Feb 2 (U.P.) – The newspaper Pravda reported today that the Red Army had saved several thousand tortured, emaciated inmates of the Germans’ greatest “murder factory” at Oswiecim in southwest Poland. Pravda’s correspondent said fragmentary reports indicated that at least 1,500,000 persons were slaughtered at Oswiecim. During 1941, 1942, and early 1943, he said five trains arrived daily at Oswiecim with Russians, Poles, Jews, Czechs, French and Yugoslavs jammed in sealed cars.” Poignantly, at the time of the liberation of the most brutal Nazi camp, the newspapers devoted just 3 lines to it.
TU B’SHVAT IN THERESIENSTADT
Irma Kohn Lauscher was a teacher at a Jewish school in Prague. On December 22, 1942, she and her husband Jiri and their little daughter, Michaela, were deported. READ MORE
Irma Kohn Lauscher was a teacher at a Jewish school in Prague. On December 22, 1942, she and her husband Jiri and their little daughter, Michaela, were deported to Theresienstadt.
In Theresienstadt, Irma was a dedicated teacher in the clandestine classes that were organized for the children. Her classes included lessons on Jewish tradition and holidays. At times she would trade her bread for pencils and paper.
In January 1943, Irma managed to persuade a camp guard to bring her a tree sapling for the children to plant in celebration of the holiday of Tu B’Shvat. They planted the tree, and the children nurtured it, group after group. They called the tree Etz Hayim — the Tree of Life.
Today a sapling from the Etz Hayim tree has been replanted at Yad Vashem.
*Irma and her family survived the war. Of the approximately 15,000 jewish children who entered Theresienstadt, only some 100 children survived.
CHANUKAH IN THE WARSAW GHETTO
December 26, 1940 Hanukkah in the ghetto. Never before in Jewish Warsaw were there as many Hanukkah celebrations as in this year of the wall. But because of the sword that hovers over our… READ MORE
Hanukkah in the ghetto. Never before in Jewish Warsaw were there as many Hanukkah celebrations as in this year of the wall. But because of the sword that hovers over our heads, they are not conducted among festive crowds, publicly displaying their joy. Polish Jews are stubborn: the enemy makes laws but they don’t obey them. That is the secret of our survival. We behaved in this manner even in the days when we were not imprisoned within the ghetto wall, when the cursed Nazis filled our streets and watched our every move. Since the ghetto was created we have had some respite from overt and covert spies, and so Hanukkah parties were held in nearly every courtyard, even in rooms which face the street; the blinds drawn, and that was sufficient.
How much joy, how much of a feeling of national kinship there was in these Hanukkah parties! After sixteen months of Nazi occupation we came to life again”
Chaim Kaplan, Scroll of Agony, pg. 234-235
ROSH HASHANAH IN HIDING
Naomi Rosenberg, along with her mother and two surviving siblings, was given refuge by a Polish farmer’s wife in a crawl space beneath a barn for nearly two years. In her poignant… READ MORE
Naomi Rosenberg, along with her mother and two surviving siblings, was given refuge by a Polish farmer’s wife in a crawl space beneath a barn for nearly two years. In her poignant memoir,Hide: A Child’s View of the Holocaust,Naomi recorded:
“Now it was Rosh Hashanah 1943, and everything that I didn’t take seriously when I was younger, plus all the horrors that had happened in the past two years were facing me at age ten. The worst horror was that I might never live to be eleven. I was facing death from hunger or from frost. We were all facing death perhaps from some dreaded disease that could come to us in this most unsanitary nest…We might all die from the dreaded bullets at the hands of the German murders or Polish collaborators.’
“And yet in the midst of our crying while in our huddle we wished each other ‘Shana Tova’, a good year. ‘Shanah mevurechet’ , a year filled with blessing. And of course we wished each other ‘Shnat Chaim’, a year of life”. (pg 101)
Naomi Rosenberg was niftar at the age of 80, the day after Rosh Hashanah 5773, on Shabbos, September 7, 2013.
SHARE YOUR STORY
Using the services of a professional interviewer and a videographer, Project Witness is currently in the process of archiving a large number of video interviews. If you are a survivor and are willing to share a personal account of your experiences during the Holocaust, please fill out the form below.