Flares of Memory: Stories of Childhood during the Holocaust

By Anita Brostoff; Sheila Chamovitz | Go to book overview

Parting
Dora Zuer Iwler
b. Chodorów, Poland, 1923

My parents, Yehuda and Sima, worked very hard in our small fruit store and our home in Chodorów, near Lvov, Poland. My brother, Moshe Lazer, and I worked in the store after school also. Father supplemented his meager income by collecting scrap metal with a friend. Once a week he went to Lvov to restock the store, while Mother took care of the customers.

Thursdays, market days in our town, were when my mother bought all the food to prepare for Shabbat. I stayed home to care for my younger brother Yitzhak and sister Miriam. We all looked forward to the treats Mother brought back from the market for us.

Fridays were spent cooking and baking bread. We made our own butter, and we each had a glass of milk on the window sill which eventually separated into layers of milk, yogurt, and cream. I still remember the delicious tastes and smells.

On Shabbat, the six of us walked to the synagogue together. My father looked at all of us with such pride in his eyes. Mother was a quiet, religious woman who had come from a family of eleven children. She had long brown hair which she wore in a braid wrapped in a bun and pinned to the back of her head. She dressed modestly, but she always looked beautiful to me. Her four children gave her very little free time.

My brother Moshe Lazer was handsome; the girls loved his black hair and tall build. Since he was only eighteen months older than me, we had lots of mutual friends. He was known to get in trouble pretty often and sometimes I got caught with him. Once, when we were quite young, we went to the circus without telling our parents. They were worried sick about us because we were gone so long. We got a good whipping with Father's belt when we got back, which I suppose we deserved.

My sister, Miriam, was three years younger than me. She was a beautiful brunette and quite shy and reserved, unlike me. She loved to stay home with Mother and our brother Yitzhak, who was six years younger than I. Miriam and Yitzhak went to school together every day and then to Cheder. I still picture Yitzhak going down the street spinning a wheel with a stick or playing dominoes at the table with Miriam.

This beautiful, simple life came to an end in 1942 when the Nazis declared

-13-

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Flares of Memory: Stories of Childhood during the Holocaust
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vi
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword xiii
  • Timeline of the Holocaust xv
  • Map of Concentration Camps in Europe xxviii
  • Preface xxix
  • Introduction xxxiii
  • I - Snapshots: Jewish Life Before the Holocaust 1
  • Snapshots 2
  • War Arrives in Lithuania 3
  • A German Family 7
  • Betrayal 11
  • Parting 13
  • II - The Destruction of a Society 15
  • Herr B. 17
  • A Kristallnacht Journey 18
  • An Action Against the Jews 20
  • Leaving Germany, Leaving Home 24
  • Escape to England 26
  • The Best-Laid Plans 28
  • A Life-Defining Impression 30
  • The Harbinger of What? 32
  • The Beginning and the End 33
  • A Family Gone, One by One 34
  • The Abandonment of Mielec 36
  • A Shtetl's Life is Ended 37
  • What Ever Happened to the Jews of Skudvil? 40
  • III - Ruthlessness as a System 43
  • In the Dark 45
  • Theresienstadt 47
  • Dachau 50
  • Auschwitz, 1944 55
  • The Tenth Woman on Block Ten 56
  • The Means to Survive 58
  • The Gypsies 60
  • Nazi Murderers 61
  • How Many Made It? 63
  • The Law in Lithuania 64
  • Horrors of War 70
  • IV - The Lottery of Death and Life 81
  • German Roulette 83
  • My Sister Rieke 84
  • A Definition of Survival 86
  • An Unforgettable Passover Seder 89
  • Trying to Go Home 90
  • Bar Mitzvah Boy 93
  • The Skull with the Golden Braid 95
  • The Concentration Camp Lottery 96
  • The Girl with Wooden Shoes 101
  • The Wagon 102
  • The Child 103
  • V - Disguise as a Way of Hiding 105
  • In Constant Terror 107
  • Posing as a Christian 114
  • I Choose Life 116
  • Lost Families 119
  • Beyond Memory 121
  • A Hidden Child in Greece 123
  • VI - The Sustaining Power of Family Love 143
  • The Promise 144
  • A Mother's Courage 147
  • Miracles 151
  • A Dream of Milk 155
  • In Praise of Manual Labor 156
  • A Son in Deed 158
  • The Psychologist 162
  • VII - The Virtuous and the Vicious 163
  • A Narrow Escaper 165
  • The Kindness of Strangers 168
  • A Saintly Person 170
  • The Convent in Marseilles 173
  • Among the Righteous 176
  • The Killing Hunger 179
  • Captain Zimmer 180
  • The Volunteer Group 181
  • Mazel 182
  • The Farmer Kowarski 185
  • A Surprise Package 187
  • VIII - Disguise as a Way of Hiding 189
  • Lithuanian Friends 191
  • Unsung Heroes 199
  • Friend or Enemy? 202
  • Resist in Everything! 208
  • IX - Emergence into Light 225
  • The Golden Chain of Judaism 227
  • Flight to Freedom 236
  • The Last Hiding Place 243
  • One Day War, the Next Day Not 245
  • The Long Road After Liberation 247
  • On the Way to Health 249
  • An Ending and a Beginning 252
  • The Tiny Flame 254
  • X - The Aftermath: Remembering 257
  • The Aftermath 258
  • The Barber 260
  • Kaleidoscope: Salonika, Greece, 1945 261
  • The Sewing Basket 263
  • Children from the Camps Going to England 265
  • The Chief of the Gestapo 268
  • Herr Schluemper 270
  • The Miracle 272
  • To Bear Witness About the Holocaust 274
  • It Shall Not Be Forgotten nor Forgiven! 276
  • Addendum - Seen with My Own Eyes: Stories by American Liberators 279
  • The Photograph 281
  • Germany, 1945: View from a Tank 283
  • Gusen: A Nurse's Tale 286
  • A Letter from Dachau 288
  • I Saw Buchenwald 291
  • Re-Entry 296
  • Biographies of Survivor-Authors 298
  • Biographies of Survivor-Authors 298
  • Photographs of Liberator-Authors 336
  • Author Index 342
  • Story Index 343
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