Survivor stories

'We walked and slept in the snow - it was hell'

By Jennifer Lipman, January 27, 2012

When Bob Obuchowski was 11, the Nazis came into his small Polish town of Ozorkow. The 2,300 Jews were forced into a school building and made to undress, then lined up and stamped either A or B to indicate their destination. Most, including his parents and all but one of his three siblings, were sent straight to their death. The 500 who remained were incarcerated in a ghetto.

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'How I survived Bergen-Belsen'

By Jennifer Lipman, January 27, 2012

After Zahava Kohn's mother, Rosy Kanarek, died 10 years ago, she discovered an extraordinary collection of documents, letters, ration books and photographs telling the story of the family's experiences during the Holocaust.

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'If you couldn't walk, they shot you'

By Jennifer Lipman, January 26, 2012

As a child growing up in a Romanian village, Leslie Kleinman heard stories about the Nazis from Polish escapees.

"One man said they were pulling children's legs apart and killing them," recalled Mr Kleinman, who was 14 when the Nazis arrived in his village in the spring of 1944. "I thought it was just a story. When I got to Auschwitz, I realised it was true."

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'I was so scared when the Gestapo held us at gunpoint'

By Jonathan Kalmus, January 26, 2012

Helen Stein was 13 when the Gestapo interrogated her at gunpoint.

"One pointed his revolver towards me. I will never forget. I was asked my name, my address and who organised the journey. And after each question: 'Are you Jewish?' I told them my real name. I told them, 'I'm frightened.'"

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Last minute 'reprieve' for Austrian refugee, 87

By Jessica Elgot, July 28, 2011

An 87-year-old former refugee from Nazi-occupied Austria received a last-minute invitation to an Austrian Embassy commemoration event, after being told the event was full.

Vienna-born Alice Malcolm, 87, complained to the JC last week that despite travelling from Glasgow to London, and her daughter Vivien Lobell flying from New York, the embassy had told her that the event to mark the 70th anniv

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Restitution body doing 'nothing' for claimants

By Marcus Dysch, June 23, 2011

A Holocaust restitution organisation has been widely criticised by survivors and experts who say it has ignored compensation claims and neglected its duties.

Backed by £300,000 of Czech Foreign Ministry funding, the European Shoah Legacy Institute (ESLI) pledges to work with governments and restitution groups to return property, art and assets stolen by the Nazis.

The ESLI was set up in Jan

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Czech mates meet again in London

By Jay Grenby, June 2, 2011

Czech Ambassador Michael Žantovský hosted the annual reunion of Holocaust survivors and their families originating from Ostrava, organised by Kingston Synagogue's Ostrava Scroll Group.

Seventy "Ostrawaks" attended, some travelling from the Czech Republic, Austria, Belgium and Germany.

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Survivor story: Ursel Goldschmidt

January 27, 2011

Ursel Goldschmidt was 14 when her parents put her on the last Kindertransport train to leave Berlin in August 1939. An only child from a close family, she recalls that getting on the train, "I did not know what was happening until the parents had to stand back and say goodbye.

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Survivor story: Alice Salamon

January 27, 2011

At the age of 15, Hungarian-born Alice Salamon was in a ghetto in Košice, Czechoslovakia, separated from her family. She was sent on a cattle truck to Auschwitz, then Markkleeberg and Theresienstadt, surviving a 24-hour death march.

Fourteen days before the war ended, she met a family friend who told her that her father was still alive. But it was a false hope. "I was alone. There was nobody."

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Survivor story: Dani Jeffrey

January 27, 2011

Dani Jeffrey's memories of her parents have almost faded. She was five when her mother took her from their home in Paris in 1942 to live in a French farming village with strangers.

"I don't think I would remember my mother at all if it wasn't for the photos I have of her. But I remember my mother leaving me in the country with someone I didn't know. I was too small to even question why I was there. My mother paid them and used to visit once a week, which was very dangerous. Suddenly the visits stopped. When the money stopped, they started treating me very badly.

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