The Words to Remem­ber It: Mem­oirs of Child Holo­caust Survivors

Syd­ney Child Holo­caust Sur­vivors Group
  • Review
By – November 1, 2011
Over twen­ty years ago, child sur­vivors in Syd­ney, Aus­tralia, cre­at­ed a group in which they could share their sto­ries. With a fore­word by Car­o­line Jones, The Words to Remem­ber It: Mem­oirs of Child Holo­caust Sur­vivors brings togeth­er thir­ty of these sto­ries. As sur­vivors age, books such as this become valu­able reminders of the impor­tance of pre­serv­ing indi­vid­ual sto­ries for future gen­er­a­tions, and, as such, the authors reflect not only on how they expe­ri­enced World War II as chil­dren, but also on the ways in which they are able to rec­ol­lect their expe­ri­ences as adults. From hid­ing in the coun­try­side near Vil­no, to endur­ing life in Auschwitz and the War­saw Ghet­to, being sent to Eng­land on a kinder­trans­port, flee­ing to Shang­hai, and being hid­den by the French Resis­tance, these mem­oirs reveal how Jew­ish chil­dren in dif­fer­ent con­texts expe­ri­enced the war. In addi­tion, the authors dis­cuss the com­plex­i­ties of adapt­ing to life in orphan­ages, fos­ter homes, and new coun­tries; the shock of being reunit­ed with loved ones; their attempts to cope with trau­ma asso­ci­at­ed with los­ing their fam­i­lies, as well as their post-war involve­ment in Holo­caust edu­ca­tion in Aus­tralia. Along with the writ­ten nar­ra­tives, some of the authors also include pho­tographs of them­selves as chil­dren and adults, as well as images of their fam­i­lies before the war. Since many of the fam­i­ly mem­bers in these pho­tographs did not sur­vive to tell their sto­ries, this haunt­ing col­lec­tion also ensures that their expe­ri­ences and the sac­ri­fices they made for the authors will not be forgotten.

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