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Memories as told by the survivors of the Holocaust


In this section of my website you will find the moving stories from the survivors of the Nazi concentration camps. This is made in their honor. It is a collection of stories. The stories are unedited and it is in the words of the men and women w≠ho have contributed to my project. I encourage you to read a few of these stories. To access the stories please click on the tabs above, every tabs hold 50 eyewitness stories. I hope you will find your stay on my website worth your time. If you want to leave me a message after you have read a few of the stories please feel free to do so.


The term holocaust originally derived from the Greek word holókauston, meaning a "completely (holos) burnt (kaustos)" sacrificial offering to a god. Its Latin form (holocaustum) was first used with specific reference to a massacre of Jews by the chroniclers Roger of Howden and Richard of Devizes in the 1190s. Since the late 19th century, it has been used primarily to refer to disasters or catastrophes.

The biblical word Shoah (also spelled Sho'ah and Shoa), meaning "calamity," became the standard Hebrew term for the Holocaust as early as the 1940s. Shoah is preferred by many Jews for a number of reasons, including the theologically offensive nature of the word holocaust, as a Greek pagan custom.

The word holocaust has been used since the 18th century to refer to the violent deaths of a large number of people. For example, Winston Churchill and other contemporaneous writers used it before World War II to describe the Armenian Genocide of World War I. Since the 1950s its use has increasingly been restricted, with its usage now mainly used as a proper noun to describe the Holocaust perpetrated by the Nazi party.

Holocaust was adopted as a translation of Shoah—a Hebrew word connoting catastrophe, calamity, disaster, and destruction —which was used in 1940 in Jerusalem in a booklet called Sho'at Yehudei Polin, and translated as The Holocaust of the Jews of Poland. Shoah had earlier been used in the context of the Nazis as a translation of catastrophe; for example, in 1934, Chaim Weizmann told the Zionist Action Committee that Hitler's rise to power was an "unvorhergesehene Katastrophe, etwa ein neuer Weltkrieg" ("an unforeseen catastrophe, perhaps even a new world war"); the Hebrew press translated Katastrophe as Shoah. In the spring of 1942, the Jerusalem historian BenZion Dinur (Dinaburg) used Shoah in a book published by the United Aid Committee for the Jews in Poland to describe the extermination of Europe's Jews, calling it a "catastrophe" that symbolized the unique situation of the Jewish people

The word Shoah was chosen in Israel to describe the Holocaust, the term institutionalized by the Knesset on April 12, 1951, when it established Yom Ha-Shoah Ve Mered Ha-Getaot, the national day of remembrance. In the 1950s, Yad Vashem was routinely translating this into English as "the Disaster"; at that time, holocaust was often used to mean the conflagration of much of humanity in a nuclear war. Since then, Yad Vashem has changed its practice; the word Holocaust, usually now capitalized, has come to refer principally to the genocide of the European Jews.

The usual German term for the extermination of the Jews during the Nazi period was the euphemistic phrase Endlösung der Judenfrage (the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question"). In both English and German, "Final Solution" is widely used as an alternative to "Holocaust". For a time after World War II, German historians also used the term Völkermord ("genocide"), or in full, der Völkermord an den Juden ("the genocide of the Jewish people"), while the prevalent term in Germany today is either Holocaust or increasingly Shoah. An attempt by the German TV documentarian Guido Knopp in 2000 to "Germanize" the term by spelling it Holokaust has not yet been successful.

The word holocaust is also used in a wider sense to describe other actions of the Nazi regime. These include the killing of around half a million migrant Romani peoples, the Roma and Sinti, the deaths of several million Soviet prisoners of war, along with slave laborers, gay men, Jehovah's Witnesses, the disabled, and a vast assortment of perceived potential troublemakers and political opponents. The use of the word in this wider sense is objected to by many Jewish organizations, particularly those established to commemorate the Jewish Holocaust. Jewish organizations say that the word in its current sense was originally coined to describe the extermination of the Jews, and that the Jewish Holocaust was a crime on such a scale, and of such totality and specificity, as the culmination of the long history of European antisemitism, that it should not be subsumed into a general category with the other crimes of the Nazis.

List of concentration camps
Camp Name Country Type Dates of use Prisoners Deaths (approx)
Amersfoort Netherlands Prison and transit camp Aug 1941 - Apr 1945 35,000 1,000
Arbeitsdorf Germany Labour camp 8 Apr 1942 - 11 Oct 1942   min. 600
Auschwitz Birkenau Poland Extermination and labour camp Apr 1940 - Jan 1945 400,000 1,100,000 - 1,500,000
Banjica Serbia Concentration camp Jun 1941 - Sep 1944 min. 23,637  
Bardufoss Norway Concentration camp Mar 1944 - ???? 800 250
Betzec Poland Extermination camp Mar 1942 - Jun 1943   at least 434,508
Bergen - Belsen Germany Collection point Apr 1943 - Apr 1945   70,000
Berlin - Marzahn Germany Early a "rest place" then labour camp for Roma July 1936 -    
Bolzano Italy Transit Jul 1944 - Apr 1945 11,116  
Bredtvet Norway Concentration camp Fall, 1941 - May, 1945 1,000 or more ????
Breendonk Belgium Prison and labour camp 20 Sep 1940 - Sep 1944 min. 3532 min. 391
Breitenau Germany "Early wild camp", then labour camp Jun 1933 - Mar 1934,1940 - 1945 470 - 8500  
Buchenwald Germany Labour camp Jul 1937 - Apr 1945 250,000 56,000
Kulmhof Poland Extermination camp Dec 1941 - Apr 1943,Apr 1944 - Jan 1945   at least 153,000
Crveni krst Serbia Concentration camp 1941 - 1945 30,000 12,300
Dachau Germany Labour camp Mar 1933 - Apr 1945 200,000 31,591
Falstad Norway Prison camp Dec 1941 - May 1945   min. 200
Flossenbürg Germany Labour camp May 1938 - Apr 1945 min. 100,000 30,000
Grini Norway Prison camp 2 May 1941 - May 1945 19,788 8
Gross - Rosen Poland Labour camp; Nacht und Nebel camp Aug 1940 - Feb 1945 125,000 40,000
KZ Herzogenbusch(Vught) Netherlands Prison and transit camp 1943 - Summer 1944 31,000 750
Hinzert Germany Collective point and subcamp Jul 1940 - Mar 1945 14,000 min. 302
Janowska (Lwów) Ukraine Ghetto; transit, labour, & extermination camp Sep 1941 - Nov 1943   min. 40,000
Kaiserwald (Mezaparks) Latvia Labour camp 1942 - 6 Aug 1944 20,000?  
Kaufering/Landsberg Germany Labour camp Jun 1943 - Apr 1945 30,000 min.14,500
Kauen (Kaunas) Lithuania Ghetto and internment camp ????    
Klooga Estonia Labour camp Summer 1943 - 28 Sep 1944   2,400
Lager Sylt (Alderney) Channel Islands Labour camp Mar 1943 - Jun 1944 1,000? 460
Langenstein - Zwieberge Germany Buchenwald subcamp camp Apr 1944 - Apr 1945 5,000 2,000
Le Vernet France Internment camp 1939 - 1944    
Majdanek(KZ Lublin) Poland Extermination camp Jul 1941 - Jul 1944   78,000
Malchow Germany Labour and Transit camp Winter 1943 - 8 May 1945 5,000  
Maly Trostenets Belarus Extermination camp Jul 1941 - Jun 1944   65,000
Mauthausen - Gusen Austria Labour camp Aug 1938 - May 1945 195,000 min. 95,000
Mittelbau - Dora Germany Labour camp Sep 1943 - Apr 1945 60,000 min. 20,000
Natzweiler - Struthof France Labour camp; Nacht und Nebel camp May 1941 - Sep 1944 40,000 25,000
Neuengamme Germany Labour camp 13 Dec 1938 - 4 May 1945 106,000 55,000
Niederhagen Germany Prison and labour camp Sep 1941 - early 1943 3,900 1,285
Oranienburg Germany Collective point Mar 1933 - Jul 1934 3,000 min. 16
Osthofen Germany Collective point Mar 1933 - Jul 1934    
P?aszów Poland Labour camp Dec 1942 - Jan 1945 min. 150,000 min. 9,000
Ravensbrück Germany Labour camp for women May 1939 - Apr 1945 150,000 min. 90,000
Risiera di San Sabba (Trieste) Italy Police detainment camp Sep 1943 - 29 Apr 1945 25,000 5,000
Sachsenhausen Germany Labour camp Jul 1936 - Apr 1945 min. 200,000 100,000
Sajmiste Serbia Extermination camp December 1941 - September 1944   100,000
Salaspils Latvia Labour camp Oct 1941 - Summer 1944   101,000
Sobibór Poland Extermination camp May 1942 - Oct 1943   up to 200,000
Soldau Poland Labour; Transit camp Winter 1939/40 - Jan 1945 30,000 13,000
Stutthof Poland Labour camp Sep 1939 - May 1945 110,000 65,000
Theresienstadt (Terezín) Czech Republic Transit camp and Ghetto Nov 1941 - May 1945 140,000 min. 35,000
Treblinka Poland Extermination camp Jul 1942 - Nov 1943   870,000
Vaivara Estonia Concentration and transit camp 15 Sep 1943 - 29 Feb 1944 20,000 950
Warsaw Poland Labour and extermination camp 1942 - 1944 up to 40,000 up to 200,000
Westerbork Netherlands Collective point May 1940 - Apr 1945 102,000  

Concentration Camp
Jan Komski
Escape from Auschwitz
Robert Cohen
Auschwitz and Dora-Mittelbau survivor
Auschwitz Birkenau