In 1945 when the survivors of the Holocaust were liberated by the allied trop,
they learned that they had lost part of their families, In many cases, the only survivor of their entire family was a child.
Their painful stories remained unspoken by the victims for many years; sometimes, thirty, forty or more years passed until
they were revealed to the world. Diverse reasons prevented them from talking or writing about their experiences. Sometimes
they had promised themselves never to remember their past in order to survive. Sometimes, as children, they were obligated
not to talk as if their past had never existed.
However different circumstances in their lives compelled
them to speak out and let people know about their memories.
Such is the case of EDITH SINGER, a survivor of Auschwitz.
Her father and brother were murdered at a concentration camp. After de liberation she came to America and became a Hebrew
teacher. Years later, when she was teaching at a school, a litle boy asked her if the tattoo on her arm was her telephone
number. From then on she decided to tell her history. SINGER has been giving lectures around de United States for many years
and wrote: "March to Freedon" where she recalls painful chapters of her past, including details she thought she
had forgotten. She said: "It was not easy. Every story took me back to Aushwitz and Taucha (a labor camp). After completing
each story I stopped for a few months until I could write again."
MATILDE MELLIBOVSKY, a mother of a disappeared child, GRACIELA, is one of the founding members of the Mothers
of the Plaza de Mayo, Argentina. Her daughter was abducted in September 25, 1976 at the age of twenty nine. Matilde wrote
the book "Circulo de Amor sobre la Muerte: Testimonios de las Madres de Plaza de Mayo" in 1990; its English version:
"Circle of Love over Death: Testimonies of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo," was published in the United States
in 1997. This was her first book and also the first book of its kind. When a foreign writer approached her at a conference
in Buenos Aires, looking for a book in Spanish with testimonies by the Mothers she had to admit that it has not been written
yet. Mellibovsky decided then to face the hard task of interviewing the other mothers of the organization, tapping and writting
their painful experiences as well as her own's. "I want to write this book so that the next generations can have an axact
image of what happened, so that they know us, the Mothers, as if we were their contemporaries. So that they know how we felt
and how we lived out this part of Argentina's history, which scarred our families forever," she wrote. In a chapter where
she disccusses the difference between death and disappearance we can read: "A disappearence places you in a very large,
dense cloud from which you cannot escape, because in the unconscious a hope always survives, while you can rationally assume
the absoluteness of death."
"I am the Only Survivor
of Krasnostav" was written by DONNA RUBINSTEIN in 1982, on the forty-first anniversary of the annihilation by the Nazis
of all the people who lived in Krasnostav, including Donna's entire family: grandparents, parents, siblings and also uncles,
aunts, and their families. As the only survivor of Krasnostav, an eastern Ukraine little town, she felt it was her duty to
record her memories for her children and for future generations. She wrote: "I am still alive, a remnant of the Holocaust,
and will not reimain silent. As long as I live I will tell what I remember, so that at least one tiny part of the most horrendous
catastrophe of the twentieth century shall never be forgotten."
She was the first Jewish woman to win, in l966, a Novel Prize for Literature. SACHS had all her family, except
for her mother, killed in concentration camps during the
Holocaust. She wrote: " If I could not have written, I
could not have survived. Death was my teacher . . . my metaphors are my sounds."
Her best-known poem was:
O The CHIMNEYS
O the chimneys, On the cleverly devised abodes of death.
As Israel's body drew, dissolved in smoke, Through the air,
As a chimney-sweep a star received it, Turning
Or was it a sunbeam?
Among the victims
who did not survive in Argentina, there were poets and writers whose works were preserved by their families and friends. CLAUDIO
EPELBAUM was one of them; he "disappeared" in 1976. In 1985 was published in Buenos Aires "Desde el Silencio"
(From Silence) a moving antology with poems and narratives by more than twenty young poets who, like Epelbaum, were killed
by the military forces.
Agrego estas lagrimas secas
por el dolor,
mientras beso la
de rabia impotente
por el escandalo
del hombre asesinado,
The poet cries dry tears because of his pain, while he kisses the earth soaked with impotent
rage, due to the terrible reality of people being murdered and deprived of their dreams.