Last night, Holocaust survivors gathered at the Museum to commemorate the largest targeted massacre of Jewish civilians since the Holocaust in the attack on Israel by the terrorist group Hamas.
The survivors pictured here are among 40 survivors who volunteer at the Museum. Here is their open letter about the murderous attack.
An Open Letter on the Hamas Attacks from a Community of Holocaust Survivors
We are Holocaust survivors who volunteer at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, sharing our experiences with the public. We are always gratified to see how much interest there is from young people from every part of the world. To hear their comments and questions gives us hope for the future.
Today, as we see the murderous destruction in Israel, that hope is dimmed. All our lives we mourned for our loved ones lost to the genocidal actions of the Nazis and their collaborators, but we hoped the lessons of the past could shape a different future. Today we mourn for Israel that holds such special meaning for us.
In our youth, we were proud Jews in our communities throughout Europe. Eventually, that meant escape or certain death. We wanted to flee, but no one would take us. We longed for freedom and security, but there was no Jewish state. Today, the State of Israel is the guarantor of a Jewish future, but it is under horrific assault by Hamas terrorists. Today, men, women, and children are again targeted as Jews. Today, we witness the worst killing of Jews since the Holocaust.
This is not what we expected in this final chapter of our lives, as we contemplate our legacy, the future of Holocaust memory and education, and the future of our people. We write this letter to humanity in sorrow but also in hope. We know pain few can comprehend, having seen our families and communities obliterated. We are living proof that the unthinkable is always possible.
We are also living proof of resilience. That we can rebuild as our fierce determination demonstrates. We must be realistic about the dangers, but we must never despair. That would be a victory for those seeking to destroy us. That is why memory and education become more important with each passing year. And why we are proud of our contributions to fortify new generations to face the challenges that lie ahead. We promised our loved ones we would never forget and never give up. Especially at this darkest of moments, that remains our promise and our challenge to humanity.
- Steven F., deported to Auschwitz from Hungary
- Joël N., protected by neighbors in France
- Louise L., hidden in the Netherlands
- Rose-Helene S., lived on false papers in France
- Susan W., escaped from Nazi Germany
- Arye E., hidden in Slovakia
- Esther S., escaped on a Kindertransport to England
- Ninetta F., sheltered in Greece
- Nat S., expelled from home in Romania
- Henry W., escaped from Vienna
- Estelle L., forced into the Warsaw ghetto
- George S., protected by the Swiss in Budapest
- Tamar H., hidden in Rome
- Ruth C., deported to Auschwitz from Hungary
- Halina P., lived on false papers in Jarosław
- Andrew J., hidden in Warsaw
- Frank C., escaped from Nazi Germany
- Albert G., hidden in France
- Dora K., protected in Croatia
- Rae G., lived with partisans in forest near Głębokie
- Peter G., forced into the Budapest ghetto
- Sheldon G., hidden in Zamość
- Alfred M., hidden in the Netherlands
- Mark K., escaped the German invasion of Soviet Ukraine
- Marcel D., hidden in Drohobycz
- Ania D., born in a Soviet forced labor camp
- Peter S., persecuted in Prague
- Gideon F., hidden in Slovakia
- Ruth E., forced into a ghetto in Skałat
- Manny M., imprisoned in Bergen-Belsen
- Irene W., deported to Auschwitz from Hungary
- Lisa K., escaped from Italy
- George P., forced into the Budapest ghetto