Quotes From Those Who Lived Through the Holocaust
1. Elie Wiesel, Holocaust Survivor
“It all happened so fast. The ghetto. The deportation. The sealed cattle car. The fiery altar upon which the history of our people and the future of mankind were meant to be sacrificed.”
2. Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, Holocaust Survivor
“I remember the looks of horror on the faces of the American soldiers when they came in and stared around them.
I was afraid when I saw them.
I crept behind a pile of dead bodies and hid there, watching them warily.
“Rabbi Herschel Schachter was the Jewish chaplain of the division. I saw him get out of a jeep and stand there, staring at the corpses.
He has often told this story, how he thought he saw a pair of living eyes looking out from among the dead.
It made his hair stand on end, but slowly and cautiously he made his way around the pile, and then, he clearly remembers coming face-to-face with me, an eight-year-old boy, wide-eyed with terror.
In heavily-accented American Yiddish, he asked me, ‘How old are you, mein kind?’ There were tears in his eyes.
“‘What difference does it make?’ I answered, warily. ‘I’m older than you, anyway.’
“He smiled through his tears and said, ‘Why do you think you’re older than me?’
“And I answered, ‘Because you cry and laugh like a child. I haven’t laughed in a long time, and I don’t even cry anymore. So which one of us is older?'”
3. Simon Wiesenthal, Holocaust Survivor
“For me the Holocaust was not only a Jewish tragedy, but also a human tragedy. After the war, when I saw that the Jews were talking only about the tragedy of six million Jews, I sent letters to Jewish organizations asking them to talk also about the millions of others who were persecuted with us together – many of them only because they helped Jews.”
4. Primo Levi, Holocaust Survivor
“Monsters exist, but they are too few in number to be truly dangerous. More dangerous are the common men, the functionaries ready to believe and to act without asking questions.”
5. Anne Frank, Killed in the Holocaust
“Who has inflicted this upon us? Who has made us Jews different from all other people? Who has allowed us to suffer so terribly up till now? It is God that has made us as we are, but it will be God, too, who will raise us up again. If we bear all this suffering and if there are still Jews left, when it is over, then Jews, instead of being doomed, will be held up as an example.
Who knows, it might even be our religion from which the world and all peoples learn good, and for that reason and that reason alone do we have to suffer now. We can never become just Netherlanders, or just English, or representatives of any country for that matter; we will always remain Jews, but we want to, too.”
6. Shela Altaraz, Holocaust Survivor
“After the Holocaust I was 14. I had no one. For years. I moved to Israel and met my husband…. [now] I have an amazing family. We always had Friday night meals together. I’d say “Everyone at this table is mine. They’re all mine.”
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