Julia Botkin

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Before I first met with Ronnie Breslow, the Holocaust survivor I interviewed, I did not know what to expect. But from the first moment I opened the door and Ronnie greeted me with a hug, I felt welcomed me into her home. Over the course of our interviews over a semester, we discussed her experience as a Holocaust survivor, but also modern problems and politics. I always looked forward to our weekly meetings, and I now consider Ronnie a friend. She gave me advice about moving across the country f... Read More

Jake Chanenson

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I had the privilege of working with Mrs. Hansi Bodenheim this past semester. Mrs. Bodienhiem is a survivor of the Auschwitz Birkenau concentration camp. Born in Mainz Germany, Mrs. Bodenheim’s parents tried to emigrate to America during Hitler’s rise to power. Unfortunately, their attempt to emigrate was unsuccessful. They were, however, able to send their daughter--Mrs. Bodenheim--to relatives in Antwerp, Belgium. There, Mrs. Bodenheim lived with her cousins until the Nazi’s invaded Belgi... Read More

Charlie Cole

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My name is Charlie Cole and I was one of the 10 Stories that Live Fellows for Fall of 2017. I was paired with a man named Dr. John Spitzer who is originally from a town in southern Hungary called Boja. He was an only child and despite being raised Jewish, he attended a Catholic school because it offered the best academic route, a world he enjoyed and excelled in. Since Hungary was an ally of the Nazis during the war, for years, the SS stayed out of Hungary and he lived a relatively good life. Tr... Read More

Rachael & Kathryn

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I, Rachael, was raised Jewish and grew up learning about the Holocaust both in Hebrew school and from my grandparents and great-grandparents. And I, Kathryn, was raised in Munich, Germany, where rich and candid dialogues surrounding the topics of World War II and the Holocaust are plentiful both in and out of the classroom. Though we were both introduced to the story of the Holocaust at young ages and had a proper Holocaust education, our knowledge on the topic varied in many ways, which is why ... Read More

Casey Lu Simon-Plumb

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  Being a part of the Stories that Live Fellowship has been an incredible experience. I first found out about the program through my Birthright trip to Israel. I was pretty interested in the project from the start and really excited when I had the idea to write a series of letters. I was matched with Ronnie, an amazingly sweet woman with a very unique Holocaust story. In planning out the project I knew there were a lot of options. Creating something how did I want to capture, convey and ... Read More

Claire Michel

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For the Stories that Live project Micaela and I were paired up with George and Vera, both of whom had survived the Holocaust. On our first visit Vera and George told us about all of their children and grandchildren and how most of them now live in Israel or are very involved in the Jewish community. Vera proudly showed me photos of her many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She also showed me a photo of her father. He had a large beard and a serious face. When Vera was still young, he had b... Read More

Micaela Gold

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Working with George was an incomparable experience. I learned a lot, about both his personal experience during the Holocaust and what being Jewish and a survivor means to him. I had studied the Holocaust before in an academic sense but never had the opportunity to build such a direct relationship with a survivor. The difference between the two is that working directly with a survivor forced me to see the real and human effects of the Holocaust on an individual. I was also able to see George a... Read More

Meeting With George

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Last week I met George and his wife Vera (whose story will be told by another fellow, Claire) at their house. They showed us pictures of their grandchildren and George showed me some of the pictures he had taken on his travels. He also showed me his bookcase full of history books and poetry that he has written in the last five years since retiring. This week we went back to their house to begin hearing about their experiences during the Holocaust. George spoke with me about his childhood in H... Read More

After the First Visit

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It was a strange morning. I had just finished the hour and forced myself out of lab when, catching a glimpse of the falling hail, I became a bit delirious. Nonetheless, I knew that I had an important goal to accomplish; walk down to Suburban Square and take the 44. A prior sickness had foiled my previous plans to visit my person, but by now I was more than willing to put my foot in the door. The trip there was longer than I had expected and for the most part, uneventful. Reaching the apart... Read More

Meeting Sima

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My survivor, Sima, and I had been playing telephone tag throughout the week, and on Saturday morning, I realized I hadn’t heard from her in a couple of days.  I dialed her number, and she picked up on the first ring.  “Sima?  This is Sophie.  I’m a student at Haverford.  I didn’t hear back from you after my last message, so I wanted to check in and see if we can find a time to meet.”  Sima kicked our conversation off to an easy start – she told me about her three kids, her husb... Read More