This is the first of 3 interviews with personal friends who are all children of survivors of the Holocaust. These publications are a dedication to the millions of victims of the Holocaust, killed soldiers and veterans who fought to liberate Europe from the most destructive and industrialized genocide this world has ever seen. 70 years after the victory over Nazi Germany and its allies of evil, we owe it to never stop telling these stories about the Holocaust, about the wars and about the lost lives.
How was your family impacted by the Holocaust?
At first my grandparents from my mother’s side were in hiding but somehow the Germans found out and they were “arrested” by Gestapo and Wehrmacht. My grandfather was shot immediately, my grandmother and her children were thrown into a truck and brought to a police station. From there they were brought to a transfer camp. My grandmother was picked out and was ordered to be a translator and clerk. My mother, still a baby, was allowed to stay with her. Both my uncles, the older brothers of my mother, were taken away from her and a few days later they put on a transport. They both died during the transport.
My grandmother and my mother survived because my grandmother was seen as “useful workforce”. Other members of the family from my mothers have been “arrested” by the Germans earlier and were all send to death camps where they were murdered by Nazi’s. My grandmother and my mother were the only survivors of my Jewish family.
My father wasn’t Jewish but his older brother was shot by Germans when he tried to help a neighboring Jewish family. My grandfather died during the end of the war because of the Hunger Winter, caused by the Germans. My aunt was raped by a German SS and when she found out she was pregnant, she took her own life.
How has the Holocaust impact you personally?
When I was a little girl, I didn’t understand why my parents hated Germans so much and I was sometimes confused about the way my parents spoke about them. Until history class in school had the topic Holocaust. I rushed out of class and ran home to ask my mother if I am Jewish. Until now I don’t understand why I have suddenly come to this conclusion. My mother told me that she was Jewish and that this means I am also Jewish.
I don’t know what got into me but I asked my mother why she survived the Holocaust, I was only 8 at that time. My mother just looked at me and replied “because we were lucky”. I asked my mother if Germans would also kill me now and I will never forget my mother’s answer “I don’t know, they killed all the others so they might also kill us”. From this moment on, I have been living in fear for many years. And to be honest, I still get nervous when I hear someone speak German in an unfriendly manner.
My parents have told me all they know about the fate of my family and I visited the camps of which we know that my family died there. I joined my mother in a Holocaust survivor help group for many years and later became one of the volunteers there myself, which I still do. There are barely survivors left but still many children of survivors seek help with us. I do my best to teach my own children and grandchildren to be tolerant and forgiving.
How do you feel about the current events in Ukraine and the open glorification of Nazi collaboration?
It is frightening! Very frightening to see how this is possible and even more frightening that Neo-Nazis have become members of the establishment and government. Swastikas and other Nazi symbols are shown publicly without any actions against it. Nazi glorification isn’t even covering the load completely, they are acting on it and the government allows it. I believe they even actively support it, otherwise they would not pass a law which would assign Nazi collaborators as “Heroes of the Nation”. What worries me most is that there isn’t an European politician who is making a big crisis over this. How can this be tolerated? Have they all forgotten what happened to us? SHAME!