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The Anguish of Liberation and the Return to Life

Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day 2005

In Their Words: Testimonies about the Anguish of Liberation and the Return to Life

“My good friends – we never try to tell the tale to make people weep. It is too easy. We did not want pity. If we decided to tell the tale - it is because we wanted the world to be a better world . “
Taken from speech given by Prof. Elie Wiesel at the inauguration of the
Holocaust History Museum at Yad Vashem  15/3/2005

From the Testimony of Eliezer Adler
“Affirm Life in the DP Camps”
"When I look back today on those three years in Germany I am amazed. We took children and turned them into human beings, we published a newspaper; we breathed life into those bones. The great reckoning with the Holocaust? Who bothered about that... you knew the reality, you knew you had no family, that you were alone, that you had to do something. You were busy doing things.”
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From the Testimony of Josef Govrin:
Destruction and Orphanhood Confronted Me

 “Then I saw the destruction caused by the war perhaps in a much more realistic way than I had before. The destruction was actually all around me day and night, but only on VE Day did I notice it in the very street I was walking in... Then I understood as a child the enormity of the destruction... and truly, that day of victory is engraved in my memory to this very day as a day of... not as a day of celebration!"
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From the Testimony of Shoshana Stark
“I Decided - I’m Not Staying Here”

“I went home. I didn’t have anywhere I could stay... The gatekeeper was living in the house and wouldn’t let me go in... I also had aunts and family. I went to see all their apartments. There were goyim [gentiles] living in every one. They wouldn’t let me in. In one place, one of them said, ‘What did you come back for? They took you away to kill you, so why did you have to come back?’ I decided: I’m not staying here, I’m going”.
Click here to download entire testimony

From the Testimony of Haim Rosenfeld about the
Liberation from Dachau by the U.S Army

“And again the body, the marvel of the body. It heals with unbelievable speed. I weighed 28 kg. I couldn’t stand on my feet, I crawled. A month later I went home on my own! It is beyond words to describe what the human body is, what a human being is.”
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From the Testimony of Shmuel Krakowski about the
Liberation from Thereienstadt

“Thus, we learned that our fate was much worse than we had expected. Although we had seen a lot and experienced the worst, we still had hoped, still had dreamed. All those days we had struggled to survive, hour after hour, day after day, there had been no time to grasp the enormity of our tragedy. Now everything became clear. No longer were our families waiting for us; no homes to go back to. For us, the victory had come too late, much too late.”
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From the Testimony of Salek Orenstein about being Liberated at Theresienstadt
“And we were taken off the train according to the conditions we were. I could not move. I could not descend from the train. Quite frankly, the only thought came to me most probably they would leave me here as dead. The only thing it appeared to my mind which I repeated so often is "Shma Yisrael, hashem elokeinu, hashem echad". Do I say it now or do I have to wait when I won't be able to say it?”
Click here to download entire testimony

From the Testimony of Eva Braun:
"When I Heard About Freedom, I Was Also Very Afraid"

“More than anything else I wanted someone to look after me and relieve me of the burden of caring for the girls, so that I wouldn't have to be responsible, so that I would be under an adult's protection. It's hard to explain it, but I wanted someone to look after me, I wanted someone to lean on. It turned out that freedom is relative to a very great extent. Worry about the future weighed heavily on me. We had to build our future, but how does one build a future?"
Click here to download entire testimony

* These testimonies and many others can be found in the Holocaust Resource Center

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