November 9, 2018, marks the 80th anniversary of ‘Kristallnacht.’
The word is German and translated to ‘night of broken glass.’
The meaning of the phrase refers to how the streets of cities all across Nazi Germany were filled with glass and debris as thousands of Jewish owned businesses and homes were burned to the ground.
As a remembrance of that terrible historical event, a number of holocaust survivors who are also
Many of today’s survivors were children when the holocaust began.
In 1944, the Nazis took over
Like many, his father entertained plans of escape.
“My father wanted to become a gentleman farmer in an orchard in
Mandel was lucky. A lawyer named Rudolf Kastner struck a deal with Nazi officers, allowing 1,600 Jews to board a train for
“I can’t understand how folks could do this to folks,” said Mandel. “I don’t care who they are. Man’s inhumanity to man, it’s beyond understanding.”
Mandel’s train spent six months at
74 years later, Mandel has become dismayed by the lack of holocaust and world war two education that today’s kids receive.
“The level of history, geography and intellectual curiosity about these things is abominable,” he said.
While Mandel managed to escape, Halina Peabody had to hide in plain sight.
“My father was told he was a spy but he was a dentist,” said Halina. “And therefore, he was given 20 years hard labor and sent off to
Halina, her mother and baby sister survived by falsifying papers which identified them as Catholics. But even then, they knew that anti-Semitic neighbors could sell them out to nearby Nazi death squads at any time.
“We did what we had to, and hoped for the best. I was terrified, because i did not want to die,” said Halina.
By the time Louise Lawrence-Israels was born in the
“My father found an attic in the middle of
While some Dutch collaborators were happy to help root out Jews in hiding, Louise and her family lived a semblance of a normal life.
“We must have had really good Dutch people living below us, because they never betrayed us,” said Louise.
For three years, the family stayed indoors until the Canadians came with liberation in 1945.
“They pulled Hershey bars out of their pockets and gave each my brother and myself a Hershey bar,” said Louise. “The first time you eat chocolate, you forget a lot of things. It just makes you happy.”
Though their stories differ, they are all survivors who have worked with the Holocaust Museum to preserve their stories to ensure that others never again have to repeat them.
These interviews and thousands of others that had been gathered since 1945 reveal a dark truth about the holocaust, namely that it’s perpetrators went well beyond just Hitler’s
The systematic elimination of Jews was aided by tens of thousands of Nazi sympathizers across nearly every European nation, most notably
A great deal of the interviews and images that were collected as part of this report were made possible by Professor Kenneth Jassie and the “Portraits of Life: exhibit that was held this year at the Montgomery College Rockville campus.