Most Holocaust survivors do not have any possessions from their former lives because as a rule, the Nazis confiscated all of the Jews’ property. Some survivors were lucky enough to recover items from their vanished beginnings. After the war, all were forced to start over, building new lives for themselves while searching for remnants of their past. Survivors have constant reminders of their losses, sometimes in the form of physical objects. My grandmother had only one tangible link to her past life, a photograph of one of her sisters. The remainder of her lost world existed in her grieving mind. Now survivors’ homes are filled with all their accumulated belongings, telling their stories.
As the number of living survivors dwindle, it is extremely crucial to document their history. I rely on these objects to act as physical memories of the past. As time progresses, these stories must be passed down from generation to generation. We cannot let these memories die along with the witnesses.