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.
Sarah Shewchuk holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Alberta.