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Top 10 Facts About Families During The Holocaust



Written by Caitlyn Gutierrez, Curatorial Intern

Three Brothers

Three Brothers, Tel Aviv                                1992

10           Even before the Holocaust, many Jewish families began to flee their homelands because of discrimination

9              A large number of Jewish families and individuals that were trying to emigrate were aided by the Japanese and granted visas to help them escape through China and Japan on their way to safe countries, such as the United States, Palestine, or other countries that would accept them.

The grandchildren of Cousin Hannan

The grandchildren of cousin Hannan, Kiryat Sefer, Modi’in Ilit     2005

8              Many parents chose to hide their children, often in plain sight as non-Jewish orphans of war, in an effort to ensure their children’s survival.

7              Some families desire to remain together often left them with the only option of going into hiding, which was extremely difficult and forced them to live cut off from the world for long periods of time, sometimes years.

6              As families, friends, and neighbors began to be forced apart from each other, a common promise arose as they each vowed to find one another and rebuild their lives once they were freed or felt safe to return.

My mother Rivka with her sisters Lea and Esther

Three Sisters, Tel Aviv     1992

5              In the concentration camps the inmates were separated by gender, thus forcing another degree of separation on families; however this did allow for small fragments of families to maintain contact, such as Vardi’s mother and her sisters.

4              The need for a familial connection during the Holocaust was so strong that some inmates, who were separated from their entire family and any other familiar faces, created their own alternate kind of family.

3              Memories of one’s family often served as a source of strength for many inmates in the concentration camps.

My cousin Yonina with her daughter Neta

Cousin Yonina and her daughter Neta    2003

2              Woman survivors have mentioned that conversations of recipes, family life, or holiday traditions worked to help them cope with the life in the camps and the violence around them.

My mother Rivka with my children Gil and Roni_small

My mother Rivka and my children Gil and Roni       2003

1              The desire for the repair of familial bonds and its significance was especially apparent when survivors began to create or set up what remained of their families immediately after the war and their freedom.

After the Holocaust the survivors and families emerged from the camps and hiding with a tremendous amount of hope. They looked to the future as a wonderful opportunity to grow and thrive, by trying to put everything that had happened behind them, and though it remained in their memories (as it has for everyone throughout the world) it never hindered their desire and hopefulness for a better future for themselves and their families. Now the rest of the world has joined these families in their hopeful outlook and in taking action and responsibility to prevent and eliminate anything similar from occuring again worldwide.

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