The stories below are of Holocaust survivors who live, or who have lived in Washington State.
* Denotes active member of the Holocaust Center's Speakers Bureau. Please note: below is a small selection of the stories and speakers in Washington State.
I became an orphan at the age of 13. I could no longer go to school, I was subjected to deprivation, persecution, helplessness, and hopelessness.
Alter was born in Poland in 1926. In 1942 he was deported to a forced labor camp. Alter spent 35 months incarcerated in 5 camps.
Bertie M. *
Bertie was born in Amsterdam, Holland. In January 1943, at the age of 7, Bertie and her mother were ordered out of their home and transported to a theater that was being used as a temporary jail at the time. With the help of the Dutch underground, Bertie was "abducted." She was hidden in the home of her step-mother's sister, who was not Jewish.
Ed's group of partisans had to scavenge for food and supplies from nearby towns and farms. Once, Ed’s group found a mound of potatoes. They divided them up – one potato per person per day.
Ed was born in Poland in 1921. When the Nazis established a ghetto for all the Jews in the area, Ed escaped with several others and joined a partisan group in the forest. The partisan groups sabotaged the Nazis. They destroyed telephone lines and railroad tracks whenever possible. By the end of the war, Ed had completed about 25 missions.
Eva C. *
All of a sudden we hear "Hitler's coming! Hitler's coming!" And of course everybody had to give the Hitler salute - except Jews to whom it was forbidden. And so my mother said, "turn around." And we quickly turned around toward a jewlry shop and watched the reflection of Hitler passing by. A very scary moment.
Eva was born in Berlin, Germany. In 1939, at the age of 16, she and her mother were able to obtain an affidavit from a cousin in Seattle, allowing them to emmigrate.
Hatred has no room in our hearts or in our homes.
Fanny W. was born in south-western Poland. When she was 14, the Nazis sent her to a labor camp - a factory in Czechoslovakia. Fanny managed to survive 5 1/2 years in the camp. Her father, step-mother, brother, and sister were all killed.
I grew up celebrating Passover and Christmas. I knew I was Jewish, but religion wasn't a central part of my life. When Germany invaded Czechoslovakia, my religion came to define me.
In 1943, at the age of 14, Frieda was deported to Theresienstadt, a concentration camp in her native country of Czechoslovakia, because she was a "mischling" - half Jewish. Frieda's mother was not Jewish, but her father was. (Frieda is also part of the new onlne video testimony exhibit! For video testimony, maps, timeline and a photo gallery, click here.)
Gail's father managed to smuggle her out of the Warsaw Ghetto. He gave her a sleeping pill and hid her in a duffel bag...
Gail spent the first two years of her life in the Warsaw Ghetto, until her father smuggled her out and hid her with a Polish family.
George E. *
I neither looked nor knew that I was Jewish, so shortly after my 3rd birthday my mother smuggled me out of the Warsaw ghetto, then paid various Polish Catholic families to hide me and raise me with their own children.
George E. was one year old and living in Warsaw when the Nazis invaded Poland. George and his mother would be the only survivors of their family. Check out George's blog!
When I was in hiding, I feared I would be the only Jew who survived. A terrible empty feeling came over me at the loss of so many cousins, and I felt as though I were standing all alone in a huge stadium.
Henry F. was born in Brody, Poland. In 1941, when Henry was 14, Nazi Germany occupied Brody. Henry and his family hid on a farm owned by the Symchucks, a Christian family. For 18 months the Symchucks hid Henry and his family in a space the size of a queen sized bed. The Symchucks have been recognized as Righteous Among the Nations.
My girlfriend was my first rescuer. She was all of 15 years old. I will always remember her courage.
Hester K. was 13 years old when her hometown in Holland was occupied by the Nazis in 1942.
Josh G. *
I'm probably one of the youngest [Holocaust survivors] left.
Josh G. was 3 years old when the German army invaded his hometown in Poland. His family fled Poland and found refuge in Siberia.
and Paula S.
I was taken with my wife the 19th of April 1943 with a group of about 1000 people. As soon as I arrived in Auschwitz, I received a tattoo on my left front arm, with the number 117033.
Klaus and Paula S. married in 1941 in Germany. Both survived Auschwitz and several other camps.
What I saw that morning in Buchenwald, has never faded.
Born in Sharon, Idaho, in 1926, Leo came of age in a safe, innocent world, but at age 19, he liberated Buchenwald.
When I heard about groups that denied the Holocaust, I decided I had to speak out.
Magda S. was born in Hungary 1922, imprisoned in Auschwitz, and eventually sent to work at the slave labor camp of Muhldorf, where she met the man she would marry.
Marie-Anne H. (Second Generation) *When I was a little girl, I heard stories around the dinner table from family
members about what happened during the Nazi German occupation of Paris, home of
my mother’s family. My Grandmother has always been my hero, as she helped to
save 300 Jewish refugees escape to Free France.
Marie-Anne tells the story of her grandmother and mother - both part of the French resistance during the Holocaust. Check out Marie-Anne's website!
A. (Second Generation)*
When the Nazis took power spreading their domination in Europe, Jenneroze [Morgan's grandmother] began to plan a safety route for her family. No countries were accepting ‘Gypsy’ refugees.
Morgan A. was born in the United States to a Roma/Sinti (Gypsy) family that escaped Nazi persecution. Morgan is an outspoken advocate for Roma/Sinti peoples around the world today.
It took not more than a few seconds and I was separated from my dear ones.
Noemi B. was born in Hungary. She survived the ghetto, cattle cars, and Auschwitz.
My mother and I slept together in a bed that was inside a closet. I remember lying in that bed trembling in fear at times.
In 1942, when Peter was 7, the Nazis seized Peter's entire family except for Peter and his mother. With the help of the Dutch Underground, Peter and his mother survived the war in hiding. (Peter is also part of the new onlne video testimony exhibit! )
I was born in Antwerp, Belgium in 1938, which was neither the right time nor the right place to be born a Jew.
As a young child, Robert and his family fled to France. His father escaped a French concentration camp and the family crossed the Alps by foot, finding refuge in Switzerland in 1943.
In March of 1939, my parents took me to a train station in Berlin for the trip to Hamburg. From there, I boarded a ship to Southampton, England, along with hundreds of other Jewish boys and girls. I didn’t know then whether I would see my family again….
Stephen A., born in Berlin, Germany in 1930, was part of the Kindertransport.