The Museum’s Behind Every Name a Story project gives voice to the experiences of survivors during the Holocaust. If you’re a survivor or a relative of a survivor whose story you want to share, please read our submission guidelines.
It was winter and the cold burned us; all the camp was flooded and muddy. They took our winter clothes and in exchange gave us light clothes that looked like striped pajamas.
Rosa Marie Burger
I saw girls weeping—my friends, girls I had grown up with. Their bundles were placed in the last car and the people were herded onto the train. We lived not far from Dachau.
Irene (Blász) Csillag
I was born in 1925 in Satu Mare, which was in Romania at that time but in 1940 became part of Hungary. We were four in our family: my mother, father, and one sister, Olga, who also survived and is still living.
Miriam (Rot) Eshel
The man photographed us and after a few days he brought the picture … My mother said to us: “We will bury the picture.”
Marius was the only “humane” being I met during the terrible days of deportation. On a snowy November day in 1944 at Auschwitz ( I was 19 years old), they called us together and crammed us again into railcars, 80 girls in a railcar that was meant for eight horses and sent us away—we didn’t know where, of course.
I had little confidence when I started. My hands were so shaky I could barely read my own writing. As I started writing, I was given confidence, support, and encouragement. If I can do this, then you can too.
Manya’s Memory Project
My throat was parched, the wind blew my hair in my face and obstructed my vision. My knees buckled and the glacier never seemed to end.
Finding a way to remain in the United States as an illegal alien proved to be one heck of a sweet bargain.
Sima could easily pass as a non-Jewish Pole because she had a light complexion and was blonde, but to be able to live as a Pole, she needed a Kennkarte (identification card), and to get a Kennkarte she needed a Polish birth certificate.
Green and Hoffer Families
My mother and aunt worked for the Russians until my mother was smuggled out of Poland to the American Zone in Germany where she lived in a displaced persons camp, Feldafing, and married my father on October 16, 1946.
Rivka (née Kleinman) Grossman and Mordechai Gimpel Grossman were our parents. Our family lived in the bucolic village of Mad in northeastern Hungary, in the wine country near the Carpathian Mountains—about 100 kilometers north of Debrecen.
Miroslav (Fred) Grunwald
As the German army pushed southward, taking over from the Italians, all occupied Adriatic territory, I was suddenly again on the run and in hiding. But this time I was not so lucky.
In normal circumstances, time goes fast, but in the ghetto, it dragged exceedingly long. Every day passed very slowly, as if to spite us.
Pieter (Peter) Kohnstam
In the morning of July 6, 1942, Anne Frank came to say good-bye to us. The Franks were about to go into hiding in their secret annex. It was a sad and difficult parting for everyone.
Joseph Moses Lang
It began in May 1944 when my family and I were told to pack whatever we could carry and we were placed, along with many others, in an old factory building in Targu Muresh, Romania.
When Marcel got the news of her deportation, he knew that he would never see his mother again—the person he adored beyond anyone else. It was with a broken body and a broken heart that he arrived in Paris.
In the memories of those who lived through the occupation, the recollection of the existence and survival in the ghetto is still frightening. I will only say that out of our family, my mother and I were the only ones to survive.
Pola (née Gorzkowska) Nikodemska
My family didn’t hate any race or any human being. Our religion tells us, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” It was the most natural thing to help another person who needed help.
The Gestapo visited us in the morning. They knew my father from his visits as Seelsorger (minister) to the Jews in the local prison.
I was found in either an empty train wagon, or close to the rail station, by a Red Cross attendant in the little town of Milanówek, about 20 kilometers from Warsaw.
After three weeks in the ghetto of Czernowitz, we were sent to the camps in Transnistria for three terrible years of poverty, hunger, typhus, and fear for the future. We had hope in our hearts and only that kept us alive.
My journey to Auschwitz-Birkenau began on May 19, 1944, when I boarded the train with my parents, three younger sisters, and two brothers.
While in Westerbork, Selma Simon wrote to her daughters, Ruth and Hilda in England. The last letter was written four or five days before they were deported to Poland in which, sadly, Selma said, “We hope to see you soon.”
In the car I tried to be excited about finally ending this ordeal, but I felt I was dying from agony and fear. I was trying to find a way out. If we went to Lehonia, it would be the end of us. Nobody knew us there. After a while, I asked, “Where are we going?”
Agnes Gertrude Wohl
My name is Agnes Gertrude Wohl (maiden name Mendelovits), born in Budapest, Hungary, on March 3, 1933.
Lesson PlansBack to lesson plans archiveMay 3, 2016
Holocaust Remembrance Day Lesson Plans and Activities
May 5, 2016, is Holocaust Remembrance Day or Yom HaShoah. The following collection is designed to provide teachers with rich and meaningful resources on the Holocaust, engaging lesson plans and information to help students take steps to move forward without forgetting the past.
1. Recommended online institutions
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. The museum promotes the responsible teaching of the Holocaust through a variety of resources and programs to help the nation’s educators increase their knowledge of Holocaust history and implement sound teaching strategies.
As the Jewish people’s living memorial to the Holocaust, Yad Vashem safeguards the memory of the past and imparts its meaning for future generations. Established in 1953, as the world center for documentation, research, education and commemoration of the Holocaust, Yad Vashem is today a dynamic and vital place of inter-generational and international encounter.
IWitness brings the first-person stories of survivors and witnesses to genocide from the USC Shoah Foundation’s The Institute for Visual History and Education archive to teachers and their students via multimedia-learning activities that encourage critical thinking, self-reflection, and help students understand the profound impact their words and actions can have on others.
2. Holocaust questionnaire
This powerful 10-question quiz gives students an opportunity to decide “what would they do” in the shoes of someone persecuted for their faith. Use it as a quick activity or as a warm up for deeper conversation.
3. 36 questions about the Holocaust answered
Use this unique and informative resource to help answer students’ questions about the Holocaust from the Simon Wiesanthal Museum of Tolerance.
4. Timeline of events
Use this timeline filled with images and videos from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to help students gain context and perspective on the events that took place starting from just prior to 1933 to events that took place after 1945.
5. Documentary | The path to Nazi genocide
This 38-minute film from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum examines the Nazis’ rise and consolidation of power in Germany. Using rare footage, the film explores their ideology, propaganda and persecution of Jews and other victims. It also outlines the path by which the Nazis and their collaborators led a state to war and to the murder of millions of people.
6. Documentary | The Story of the Jews
“The Story of the Jews”is a five-part documentary series created by renowned historian Simon Schama in collaboration with the BBC and PBS that chronicles the epic journey of the Jewish people from antiquity to the present day. Use these PBS Learning Media resources designed for the classroom to accompany the film.
1. Holocaust assessing responsibility and conscience
This lesson plan helps students to analyze the different roles played by those involved in the Holocaust and aims to provide students with the opportunity to realize the individual and total impact of their actions.
2. Heidi’s dilemma
This lesson plan puts students in the position of a Dutch teenage girl who must make a decision whether to help save her friend or to abandon her. Within the lesson are both individual and group activities that culminate in a written assignment.
3. Lidice & Lezaky : Their stories through stamps
This lesson reveals the haunting story of the towns of Lidice and Lezaky – both who were razed to the ground by Nazis told through commemorative stamps. Students will examine actual images of the stamps to unlock the story of these two sites of devastation.
4. Poetry of the Holocaust
These poetry resources have been provided by the North Carolina Civic Eduation Consortium (NCCEC). Please see pages 10 – 13 for poems and activities including “Hangman” by Maurice Ogden and “First They Came for the Jews” by Pastor Martin Niemöller. For more resources on the Holocaust from NCCEC please click here.For poetry focusing on children and the Holocaust please click here.
5. Righteous Among the Nations: Rescuers of the Holocaust
The Holocaust was one of the darkest times in recorded history, yet there were acts of courage and resistance that shown like a beacon of hope in a sea of despair and grief. Both Jews and non-Jews risked their lives to save others and this lesson explores those given the title “Righteous Among the Nations” for their acts of bravery and self sacrifice. This research-based lesson will help students to identify and connect with those who decided not to be a bystander, but instead become a hero.
6. Lesson plan and film | One survivor remembers: antisemitism
This lesson plan, created by Teaching Tolerance, educates students about of Antisemitism, explores the use of propaganda and stereotypes, makes students aware of Holocaust denial and makes connections to current-day antisemitism, racism, prejudice and bigotry. This lesson was made to compliment the film “One Survivor Remembers” which has been made available online streaming in cooperation with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and HBO.
1. Resource | Confront anti-Semitism
Use this engaging resource from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to bring students’ attention to the ongoing problem of anti-Semitism faced by Jews around the world and how they can help become part of the solution to end it.
2. Documentary | Worse than War
Use this documentary from Daniel Goldhagen and PBS to help students understand genocide so that they do not grow up to become bystanders. Goldenhagen uses personal interviews to illuminate the story of genocide in the 20th century. “Facing History and Ourselves” provides a rich educator resource guide to accompany the film.
Day of RemembranceHolocaustJudaismReligionsocial justiceSocial Studies