The survivors of the Holocaust have provided some of the most important aspects of our living memory of the Holocaust. They went on to write, to speak, and to inspire generations of people who did not witness the transformation of Germany into a Nazi state or see the realities of the death camps firsthand.
Holocaust survivors spend their entire lives coming to terms with their experiences. Often, they experience “survivor’s guilt” knowing that mothers, fathers, siblings and other relatives perished when they survived. Despite this, and despite the horrors that they faced, they have shown the tremendous courage to act as lights in a world that can be very dark.
Entering the death camps, only about 1% of inmates would live to become survivors. They stand as a testament to the enduring strength of the human spirit and the importance of memory. It is amazing to realize that after having so much taken from them, often at a very early age, so many Holocaust survivors have worked tirelessly to help honor the memories of those who were lost.
While it is a good idea to see a Holocaust survivor speak in person or hear a recording of them, reading about them is also valuable. Here are their quotes:
"For me the Holocaust was not only a Jewish tragedy, but also a human tragedy. After the war, when I saw that the Jews were talking only about the tragedy of six million Jews, I sent letters to Jewish organizations asking them to talk also about the millions of others who were persecuted with us together - many of them only because they helped Jews."
- Simon Wiesenthal
“For the dead and the living, we must bear witness.”
- Elie Wiesel
“That I survived the Holocaust and went on to love beautiful girls, to talk, to write, to have toast and tea and live my life - that is what is abnormal.”
- Elie Wiesel
“It’s here, where absolute evil was perpetrated, that the will must resurface for a fraternal world, a world based on respect of man and his dignity.”
- Simone Veil
“Love gives us wings to soar above it all.”
- Sara Atzmon
“There is a place on earth that is a vast desolate wilderness, a place populated by shadows of the dead in their multitudes, a place where the living are dead, where only death, hate and pain exist.”
- Giuliana Tedeschi
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