January 26, 2012
Holocaust Remembrance Day: Survivor stories
A collection of Holocaust survivor stories by Jane Ulman.
“It was such a winter, with wind and snow. It was Dante’s night.” It was Jan. 21, 1945, and Motek Kleiman and the prisoners of Blechhammer, a sub-camp of Auschwitz, were being liquidated, dispatched on a two-week forced march to Gross-Rosen, another sub-camp. There, Motek unexpectedly met his father. More.
“Schnell, schnell,” the SS soldiers, with dogs and guns, yelled at the newly arrived Auschwitz prisoners. “Hurry, hurry.” Twins Rita and Serena Siegelstein, then 17, were suddenly separated from their parents and two brothers and rushed into a large building. Female guards appeared. More.
Margaret Liebenau celebrated her 18th birthday in Auschwitz. It was Sept. 20, 1944, and she spent the day, like most days, sweeping dirt outside her barracks, overseen by a female SS guard and a dog. More.
In the pounding rain, lined up five abreast, Greti Herman — then Margit Berger — and her parents were marched from Hungary’s Csillaghegy Ghetto to the nearby train station. As they walked, her mother motioned for her and her father to remove five of the six threads that attached the yellow stars to their canvas raincoats. More.
Suddenly, midday on Sept. 1, 1939, Donna Tuna — then Golda Tajchman — spotted planes flying low over her small town of Ryki, Poland, machine-gunning the inhabitants, who were running, panicked, in all directions. Donna, along with her mother, sister Regina, and younger twin siblings, Feige and Avrum, raced to the riverbank. More.
“We got married with a yellow star on his jacket and on my dress.” Violet Raymond, then Ibolya Friedmann, and her new husband, George Singer, stood under a chuppah at Nagyfuvaros Synagogue in Budapest, Hungary, on May 27, 1944. More.
The train pulled up to the platform at Auschwitz. Men and women were immediately separated. Rosalie Schwartz had only a couple of minutes to say goodbye to her 69-year-old father, a hearty man who now appeared weary and old to the 21-year-old. More.