A Study On The Holocaust Survivors

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The holocaust was a horrible time for the Jews. Hitler took control over all Jews making them work and killing them. There were not many Jews who survived this nightmare. Each survivor's story is remarkable because they all endured so much pain in different ways and situations. The Holocaust survivors display bravery, hope, and determination in the mist of horror.

Jeannine Burk is a Holocaust survivor, she starts her story off by saying, " My father took me on a streetcar. This memory etched in my mind because it is the last time I ever saw my father"(Menszer, "Holocaust Survivors Jeannine Burk" 1). Burk's parents found a place for their other two children to hide also, then found somewhere safe for themselves. One night the Gestapo jumped a fence where they found her parents. They took her father and her mother refused to go because she had her handicapped daughter with her. The police warned her they were coming back for her. Her mother took control and found a hospital that was willing to take her daughter. She then found a nursing home in the country where she could get away until everything was over. When the war was over, she went back to get her children, they could not find her father. Months later Burk's mother found out she had developed breast cancer and soon died. Burk heard about a Holocaust survivor conference which would be held in Philadelphia (Menszer 2). When she arrived at the Holocaust conference, there was a book of records that contained the names and dates from the Holocaust. Burk says, "This is the first time that I saw my father's name as being deported" ( Menszer 4).

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Joseph Sher explained his Holocaust survival story by saying, "I was born in the little Polish town of Krzepice. My father, Simon, was a tailor" (Menszer "Holocaust survivor stories Joseph Sher" 1). Fredia, who was Sher's sister met a girl who was visiting their hometown during the summer. Rachel noticed Fredia and stopped and said, "You are such a beauty, do you have a brother" (Menszer 1). They were together forever after they met. Sher and Rachel tried to cross the border, but it never worked out so they went to Krzepice. When they arrived back home: "Hitler was building a highway to supply men from ages twenty to thirty" (Menszer 3). Sher ended up being the worker for his family sent to help on Hitler's project, "Out of the 1000 young men who went from Czestochowa, only 3 survived" (Menszer 3).

Sher was a survivor from Czestochowa, when he arrived home his family said he looked great, but he knew he did not. Sher almost died again when he developed typhus, he finally recovered. Like many survivors Sher and Rachel went to the U.S. for a new life. Sher says in his story, "We had to crawl across the border to get across the iron curtain into Germany in get the U.S. zone. We lived in a Displaced Persons Camp' (Menszer 10). They were going to start their new life in New Orleans.

Eva Galler was a young girl who survived the terrible time of the Holocaust: "She was born in a little city in Poland named Olesyce her father was the head of the Jewish community" (Menszer "Survivor Stories Eva Galler" 1). Galler's life was confusing, Her father's first wife died, leaving him a widower. Her mother was poor and needed someone to take care of her, so her mother married Galler's father because he could provide a life for them. Many children today take their education for granted Galler explains how education for a girl was in this time, "At that time it was considered unimportant for a girl to have an education. The government gave you only a basic education, and after that you had to pay" (Menszer 2). Galler's father refused to pay for her and more higher education because it was worthless Galler says, "I went on a hunger strike. I did not eat and I locked myself in the room until my father agreed that I could go to high school" (Menszer 2). Many Jews had no concern with Hitler bothering Poland. But over time we realized that no one could be trusted Galler says, "Even your friends could turn against you" (Menszer 4). All Jews were taken from their homes and put on cattle trains. Galler and her siblings jumped out of the train and they got shot at. Galler did not get shot, Galler then says "When I did not hear anything anymore, I went back to find my brother and sister. I found them dead" (Menszer 5). After surviving she tried to keep living her life until, "She was caught as a Gentile and not as a Jew" (Menszer 6). She was then taken to a school where she was never discovered as a Jew Galler says, "I learned later that my whole city of about 3000 Jewish familes, just 12 peope survived" (Menszer 8). Galler had no one her entire family had been killed she felt so empty and lost until she met a girl from her hometown: "Her fiancée had met Galler's boyfriend at a train station,he had invited him to their wedding, which was in two weeks" (Menszer 9). It was going to be a huge surprise to see someone she did not expect was alive. Galler and Henry were in total shock "Henry right away asked her to marry him" (Menszer 9). Henry and Galler moved to the U.S. Galler did not know how to speak English at this time, "My oldest daughter came home with her school books 'See Dick run' I learned to speak English by helping my daughter' (Menszer 9).

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Isak Borenstein was a survivor during the Holocaust; he began his story by telling "I come from, Radom, Poland, I ran away to Russia, ran as far as Krasnodar. There I worked as a carpenter' (Menszer 1). Borenstein was put in jail because he was accused of looking like a Jew. Since Borenstein was in jail he explain what it was like by saying, "There he was taken to the death chamber of the jail. They kept me down there for ten days" (Menszer 2). As Borenstein was kept in the jail he was not treated well and could not take care of himself: "In the jail there was a young girl named Ira Pogorelskaja. She nursed me when I could not move because of the beatings" (Menszer 2).Borenstien never laid his eyes on Ira again. When Borenstein got out of jail he stated, "I was placed into a labor camp near Dneprotrovsk" (Menszer 2). Borenstein wondered if his brother had survived the Holocaust, Borenstein said, "Our neighbor had a letter from my older brother, Abe who was the only other Borenstein to survive the war" (Menszer 5). Isak started a new life he met his wife in Stuttgart, Germany: "She was also a survivor from Radom" (Menszer 5).

Solomon Radasky is a strong man who survived the Holocaust he said, "I am from Warsaw. I lived in Praga, which is the part of the city across the vistula river" (Menszer "Survivor Stories Solomon Radasky" 1). Radasky had a large family Jews died during the holocaust Solomon says,"Out of 78 people in my family I am the only one to survive" (Menszer 1). Radasky explained that "On May 1, 1943, I was shot in the right ankle. The bullet went through the meat and not the bone, so I did not lose my leg" (Menszer 2). As Radasky was in the war he mentions, " In my 9 weeks at Majdanek I had not changed my shirt or washed myself" (Menszer 4). Since Radasky already knew how to make things with fur it came in handly when, "One day the boys asked me if I could make a cap for the capo, The capo like the cap" (Menszer 6). Knowing these skills helped Radasky survived the Holocaust.

The Holocaust took a tole on many Jews and their everyday lives: "When people tried to return to their homes from camps or hiding places, they found that, in many cases, their homes had been looted or taken over by other("Survivors" 1).

The survivors reached out to inform people what happened during the Holocaust: "The Greenwich Historical Society has invited three Holocaust survivors to discuss their experiences living in hiding as children during World War II (Helhoski 1).

The Holocaust was a time when many Jews did not understand what was going on: "Holocaust is a word of Greek origin meaning 'scarifice by fire' " (Gutman 1). Many people lost their lives and familes because of Hitlers rule over Germany. All Jews had a hard time after the Holocaust: "During the past Holocaust years they had to make enormous efforts to overcome the painful memories of their past" (Greenfeld 1).

In retrospect, every survivor who went through the horrible time of the Holocaust was strong,brave, and determined. Each survivor has a remarkable story about surviving the Holocaust.