Flares of Memory: Stories of Childhood During the Holocaust
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
In a series of writing workshops at the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh, survivors who were children or teens during World War II assembled to remember the pivotal moments in which their lives were irreparably changed by the Nazis. These "flares of memory" preserve the voices of over forty Jews from throughout Europe who experienced a history that cannot be forgotten.
Ninety-two brief vignettes arranged both chronologically and thematically recreate the disbelief and chaos that ensued as families were separated, political rights were abolished, and synagogues and Jewish businesses were destroyed. Survivors remember the daily humiliation, the quiet heroes among their friends, and the painful abandonment by neighbors as Jews were restricted to ghettos, forced to don yellow stars, and loaded like cattle into trains. Vivid memories of hunger, disease, and a daily existence dependent on cruel luck provide penetrating testimonies to the ruthlessness of the Nazi killing machine, yet they also bear witness to the resilience and fortitude of individual souls bombarded by evil.
"I don't think that there will be many readers who will be able to put this book down."--Jerome Chanes, National Foundation for Jewish Culture
You know you are good people. You are our friends!” My father persisted. “You know most of the Jews of Constance. Which ones are the bad Jews that we have to suﬀer along with?” Herr B. thought for a few seconds. He admitted that all of the Jews of our town seemed to be decent, honest people. “Then where are these bad Jews you are talking about?” Herr B. was angry now. “You know damned well where they are,” he shouted. “All you have to do is pick up a newspaper or turn on your radio!” He turned
from his bus by an SS man pulling him by the ankles. This caused the man’s head to hit each of the steps leading down from the bus. The shock and pain revived him. After being dumped on the ground he ﬂailed his arms and legs through the air, thereby inadvertently kicking his tormentor. The latter, in a blind rage, jumped on his victim, stomping and kicking him into submission with his hobnailed boots. The other Jews from this bus also bore marks of abuse. Black eyes and raised welts on their
more, other greatcoats picked it up and dumped it into the wagon. That went on day and night. It never stopped. And that was how thousands and thousands of war prisoners died that summer. One day we were told to line up and were taken outside to weed a garden. We were warned not to eat from the garden, not even a blade of grass. If one of us was suspected of putting something from the garden into his mouth, the Lithuanian guard would hit him with his ﬁst. A lot of teeth were knocked out that day.
other place. There was no end to such thoughts. Deeply shaken by what I saw, that evening I told the others in the ghetto about the skull with the golden braid that I had discovered. I hoped that someone among them may have heard about a missing girl. No one could remember anything. The next day I dug a shallow hole near the rock and buried the skull with the golden braid of the unknown martyr. On the rock I scratched a six-pointed star to mark the grave site. I thought that someone, sometime,
to cut oﬀ Greek army transports resupplying the battle zone. We left on a pitch-black night. The driver kept his lights dim. Stella, nervous about the nightly bombings, noticed a bright pinpoint of light over our speeding cab. And then she thought the light was following us. “It is a bomber tracking us!” Stella cried out, panic-stricken, pointing at the sky. Mother’s reassurances that it was only an evening star were not making any impression on Stella. “Look, it is aiming to strafe our car!” I