tv Surviving the Holocaust in Amsterdam CSPAN August 16, 2016 9:05pm-10:01pm EDT
c-span 3 every weekend telling the american story through events, interviews, and visits to historic locations. this month american history tv is in primetime to introduce you to programs you could see every weekend on c-span 3. our features include lectureses in history, visits to college classrooms across the country, to hear lectures by top history professors, american artifacts, takes a look at the treasures of u.s. historic sites, museums, and archives. real america revealing the 20th century through archival films and newsreels. the civil war where you hear about the people who shape the civil war in constructireconstrd the presidency focuses on presidents and first ladies to learn about their politics, policies, and legacies. all this month in primetime and every weekend on american history tv on c-span 3. skb >> american history tv primetime continues in a moment with the firsthand accounts of surviving the holocaust during world war
ii. next, louise lawrence israel talks about what the holocaust was like in the netherlands where she grew up. that's followed by survivor julius mann who tells his story of getting through the war in poland and lithuania. then anna grows who survived the holocaust in romania. >> the political battled during reconstruction, and at 10:50 historians discuss the different narratives created after the war to explain why the south lost. next on american history tv
holocaust survivor louise lawrence israel recalls going into hiding with her family after german forces invaded the netherlan netherlands. louise celebrated her second and third birthdays in an amsterdam apartment hidden in plain sight using false identification papers acquired by her father. she discusses how her family coped with life in hiding and how it has affected her since. this event was part of the united states holocaust memorial museum's first person series. we've prepared a brief audio visual introduction and some images. she was born in the netherlands in 1942.
the pointer is now pointing to amsterdam, the capital of netherlan netherlands. this is a picture of louise when she was 1 years old. she was cute then. she's still cute now. this is louise with her favorite doll. her brother's little pull toy in one of the chairs that she had as a gift for her second birthday. that chair is now in the possession of the united states holocaust memorial museum, and it's been occasionally on exhibit thanks to louise. louise spent her second birthday in hiding with her parents, and they celebrated her birthday during that time in hiding thanks to some of their friends and reserve officers from the
outside. this was the attic apartment where her family hid. they would spend an additional year in hiding almost until their liberation by canadian forces in may of 1945. marie -- sorry. louise lawrence israel's story is a mosaic of history experienced by holocaust survivors, and today she'll share that story with us. please join me in welcoming louise lawrence israels. [ applause ]
>> maybe we could start by the kind of family experiences did before the war started. how did they live before the german invasion of the netherlands? >> my parents got married just before the nazis invaded holland, so they got married in 1940. and i have a brother who was born in november 1940. my father was in business with his dad. they manufactured clothing. they're jewish. our whole family is jewish, but they weren't very religious. it wasn't the most important thing in their daily life. when the nazis invaded poland,
the dutch army mobilized. every capable man above the age of 18 had to go and serve. the dutch army was really in sham bells. we hadn't participated in the first world war, so my dad was a reserve officer, but he said the uniforms were hard boiled wool that he couldn't even move his arms. but in the meantime they trained for a possible invasion, but they never expected. the germans were our friends. >> right. >> we gave domicile to the german. why would you invade a friendly country? they did. probably because they wanted the city of rodderdam. it was easier to have their ships there than invade the rest of the world. when they came into holland on may 10th, 1940, my father's
engineering battalion was ready in the southern part of holland, and they were ready to blow up the bridges over the river. the german army was so prepared. >> when he was taken prisoner of war, did this -- the fact that he was drafted, the fact that he served in the dutch army, this did not really save him from the threat of deportation. what happened to your dad when he was captured? >> he was with his whole group. they were prisoner of war. after holland capitulated, because they only fought for four days, a couple of weeks after that they let all the dutch officers go back to holland. we became part of germany. my parents settled in the town of harlan. the threat against jews wasn't
there yet. my father just lived there. >> there was persecution shortly afterwards? >> all the things that everybody would see when you go through the museum, like jewish children were not allowed to be educated in regular school. if you were sick, you could only go to a jewish hospital. you could only be treated by jewish doctors. you couldn't walk through parks. in my case or my family's case, our business was conphysician ska -- confiscated because it was a jewish business. >> very early on i remember your story, your family had a very traumatic experience in harlan, and that had to do with the president of the jewish community there and his family who were your neighbors.
>> right. that was in 1942. the occupying nazis were ready to have their trains prepared for the jews to go to death camps in poland, but also our resistance. a lot of those were -- some of those soldiers that had been taken prisoner of war had joined the resistance. that's how my father knew them. our neighbors across the street were very religious jews. they had seven children. all the ages of my parents. around 30. a couple of them were engaged, but nobody was married yet. one set of grandparents and two unmarried aunts. everybody lived in that house. so in 1942 after the order came that everybody above the age of
6 -- this is just for holland -- had to wear a star. we got orders to move to amsterdam, and the resistance blew up registration offices to make it harder for nazis to find where jews lived. as a punishment, they took the ten most influential men and shot them in the town square. with them was our neighbor across the street across the street, and the two rabbis and the two men. >> what happened then with that family? >> none of them were able to work anymore because they were jews. a daughter, my mom's age, they were good friends. they were by that time almost 6 months old.
and a couple of days after selma's dad was shot, she was in our house, and i saw from my bedroom window right across the street she was looking at her house, she saw a large truck pull up in front of her house, and people jumped off with a lot of screaming, kicked in her door, and rounded up everybody in that house. the truck drove away. except for one brother that escaped, she never saw her family again. that same night we moved to amsterdam. we had no place to really live yet, so we moved in temporarily with one of my father's military friends that was also in the resistance, and my father went out to look for a hiding place. >> right. so did he continue -- he couldn't continue his business in amsterdam. what was he doing there?
>> in harlan, the business was confiscated early in 1940. that was in amsterdam. then in harlan temporary he found a job as a pants presser in a small jewish dry cleaning place. a little basement. i tell you to compare it to my father was a spoiled man. he had a doctorate in economics. he was been to the senate of the united states to do an internship here for two years. he came back. he got a corner office from his father, and he kind of ran the business. really spoiled man. then he became a pants presser. i couldn't ask him questions for many, many years because my parents didn't want to talk about the war. just before he passed away i said how did that make feel. he said, actually, i went to work singing, and he had to walk five miles because his bicycle
was confiscated, and jews were not allowed to use public transportation. i came back singing. he said i was happy because everything is relative, and you have to feed your family, so i made some money every week. not much, but just enough to buy bread or milk, so it made him happy. >> right. but all this time he was making elaborate arrangements to bring you and your brother and your mother and his parents -- >> my father's parents. >> yes. >> into hiding. can you talk about that? >> right. he made the elaborate plans after he moved to amsterdam. it's kind of a silly thing that i was always wondering growing up. why didn't he do it before? they didn't know how long this would last. always maybe it will be over tomorrow. then, of course, it wasn't over tomorrow. he found this hiding place that saved us. it was a four-story walk-up.
a storage attic with nothing much in it except a table and chairs and a cupboard and some other dusty boxes. but it was across the street from the main park in amsterdam, and he figured he would have to go out at night, make contact with the resistance, try to get some food for us, and that way he would have neighbon't have n could see the strange man coming out in the dark. he also asked some of the people that he worked with -- he had a textile firm. they worked with bolts and bolts of fabric. he had asked some of the people if they could take as many bolts out as possible. he figured that would be something that he could barter with. when there was no more income, he could trade a couple of yards of fabric for a couple of slices of bread, and he also used that fabric when we got into the attic to make makeshift rooms,
walls, actually, so that everybody had a little bit of privacy. >> and he paid a lot of rent, right, for the apartment? >> he paid rent for ten years so that he didn't have to go out when the rent was due. maybe it will be too dangerous. he didn't know how long it would last. >> right. so when you went into hiding, what time was that, and so what time frame was that and how many people went into hiding with you? >> okay. so initially it was my father and my mother, my brother and myself, our friend selma who stayed with us because her parents were already rounded up, and she had no idea where they were. it was no good. she knew that. then my father's parents. temporarily. >> right. >> and i always say that you can't move in into hiding with a moving truck, so they really thought about the bare necessities. they took mattresses for the adults, a crib for me since i was only 6 months old. there's no kitchen there.
my mom took a camping stove, some oil lamps, everything burned on oil, and some pots and pans, some utensils, and we only had a small toilet there that was already there, and a small sink with cold running water. that was it. >> right. and you were very young at this time. what did your parents tell you about? do you remember some of the things that happened when you were in hiding there? >> right. there were two things. my parents were amazing, thinking about that now and a couple of years ago. when you are in the middle of it, you think you take everything for granted. my parents did everything they could to shield us, to save us and to shield us. that was the most important thing for them. they never talked about the outside world. they never told us what was going on, and they never told us how scared they were. my father's parents only stayed
with us a short time. somebody from the resistance picked them up and found another hiding place for them. they had no idea where anybody was, but they didn't share that with us. they thought if we didn't know, then we wouldn't miss it. also, they never talked about the outside world. if my mom had said on a nice sunny day and we had only a tiny little dormer window -- if she had said it's a beautiful day and we live across the street from a park, i wish you could take take your children out to play, we would have missed it, but by not talking about it, every day was normal for us. not for them, but for us. they had to keep us busy. >> right.
>> my father took in a lot of scrap paper and colored pencils, so i saw crawling around when we went into hiding -- i saw my father and my mother, selma, and my brother sit around a table. mom and selma were always sewing. but they were talking to my brother, and it looked like they were having a lot of fun. so i -- i was an early talker and early walker. as soon as i could talk, i said can i sit with you? i was talking so much that my father finally said you can sit with us, but you have to listen. you can't talk anymore. you can sit there, but -- at least i can sit there. what they were doing with my brother, they were doing colors, and they were doing games with colors. then they were teaching him numbers. very simple arithmetic. all in play form. then letters and words. so it was a form of ho
homeschooling. i loved it. i wanted to participate. it's funny because if you say a bird is brown, okay, then what is a bird? my mom could draw very well, so she would draw a bird. she wouldn't say birds are flying outside and sitting in trees because that would kind of make us wonder what are outside is and what are trees? we would know what a bird was or we would know what a flower was, and it was always color. it was playing. they homeschooled us really from early morning to when we went to bed because that's how they kept us busy. when we were finally liberated, i was almost 3, and i could read. it's not because i'm smart. you are all much smarter than i am, but it's just -- it's repetition. we did not have electronics. we did not have television. we didn't have any other toys. >> or a radio, right? >> no radio. nothing. this was it. >> right. so how did you -- just so it's clear for our audience, how did
you survive that time? sometimes your father went out. >> right. >> he also had contacts? >> food was very scarce, and we were very often hungry. >> even for the dutch population? >> so were all the dutch people. absolutely right. because the occupying nazis and the collaborators took all the good stuff. the nazis sent it to germany to their family and the collaborators feasted on it, and everything was rationed for everybody. of course, we didn't have ration cards as soon as we went into hiding. the resistance was unbelievable. without that, i wouldn't be sitting here today. so if there was nothing in the morning, my mom on her camping stove would boil water, and we would get a bowl of warm water. that settles your stomach and takes your hunger pangs away to start with. we as children got something every day just before we went to bed so we didn't have to go to bed hungry. sometimes it wasn't more than sharing half a cracker.
my parents always had some emergency food, but it was always for the children first. they went hungry for many days. >> can you tell us about a happy occasion that happened there? your birthday? >> my father always had this worried look. so did my mom and so did selma. we didn't know that. we thought that was perfectly normal, whatever they looked like. but then my father went out again to make contact with someone from the resistance, and it was very important. besides food and medicine to bring home news. we had no newspapers. there was no way to get any news. news would give you hope. so he came home, and he looked differently. my brother picked up on that and said what happened, papa? you went outside, and you look different. i guess my father looked happier. my brother saw it. i didn't. he said i have good news. the allied army has landed in
normandy, and maybe it will be over soon. >> sure. if you are born in july -- >> right. this was june. my father wanted to make it a special day, and they picked my birthday, my second birthday, to do that. now, if you plan -- if you forget your best friend's birthday this morning, you can still plan a nice party at night, right? it's easy. you have everything. you have your cell phone, your internet. corner bakery. not when you are in hiding. it took a lot of planning and help from the people in the resistance that helped us. >> you made a cake? >> my father made a cake, and he baked it on top of a camping stove because we didn't have an oven. my mom cut up an old blouse and made a beautiful birthday dress for me. selma out of old rags made a doll, my first doll. my brother wrapped his only toy for me. i had been watching that for years, but i had never been able to touch it. i could just look at it. it was his toy. he was going to give it to me
for my birthday. >> for one day, right in. >> except when he gave it to me, he said it's only for today. i want it back tonight. it didn't matter. i was very happy. >> your chair -- >> and then somebody from the resistance knew about the plans because he had given my father the ingredients for the cake and said she's getting her first doll, and he gave this tiny little wicker doll chair that was already an antique. it was 150 years old. when i got it, i was so happy. i sat in it. i was so little that i sat in the chair, and i held the doll in my arm. >> that's the picture that we saw? >> that's correct. and that picture, if i can add something -- that's a tribute to my parents because what you saw in the picture is a perfectly happy 2-year-old. not any different on any of your siblings or cousins that turn 2 years old because my parents wanted us to be happy children. since we didn't know the difference between the outside and the inside, we actually were happy children.
>> that's -- it's a beautiful thing that your parents did for you in this very scary situation, potentially deadly situation. >> right. >> many people when they think of hidden children, they think of ann frank who was not very far from you. about five blocks from where you were hiding. >> right. >> but in a very different context. for one thing, happily, you're alive and with us today. >> right. >> but secondly, you weren't hiding in a secret annex. you were sort of hiding in plain sight in that attic. what did your neighbors think? did they suspect you were there? >> we were lucky. we had our own walk-up. it's a little different setup in that row of houses that every floor has its own front door and its own set of stairs. we never -- my father going downstairs never met anybody, and that probably saved him. we have neighbors below us that must have heard us walk, flush the toilet.
they never said anything. people can say, well, there were -- they heard people up there, but maybe they weren't interested in you. for us that was a lucky thing. it was much better that help came from afar. if they had known us, if they had befreniended us or even held us, if a nazi or collaborator had range that doorbell or saw them on the street and had asked is there anybody living upstairs, they would have had to lie, and when you lie, you know, or they would have seen it that it was a lie when they said no. since they didn't know us at all, they could say, well, we don't know. it's just a storage attic. it was better for us. afterwards, it i would say they were probably very good dutch people. they knew that people were there, and they never said a word. >> never said a word. right. towards the end of your time in hiding, there was a round-up of
dutch jewish officers, and your father didn't show up for that head count. >> well, actually, it was a head count for all officers. since my father could not go out without a star, it was after the invasion of the allied army, and i guess the nazis got pretty jittery, especially their army, and they just said we have a head count. my father was told by some of his army buddies that there was a head count and it was close to the central station. the train station. my father said i'm not going. i have a star that i have to wear, even though he had fake identity papers, but still, he said i will never make it. so he didn't go, and he was right. there was a head count, and everybody was pushed on to a train and they were sent back to germany for the rest of the duration of the next eight
months until liberation. to my knowledge, not one jewish officer came back. he didn't go. it wasn't a good thing for it is dutch army after we were liberated because when we were liberated, my father was picked up for conduct unbecoming an officer and thrown in jail by the dutch army. >> right. >> but that only lasted three days, and they reinstated him, but it took a lot of explaining. >> exactly. >> but there was a time when your father was actually arrested and he had a lucky break to get away from the nazi authorities. >> i think we were denounced. we all had fake identity papers. my name was maria. i didn't even know my name was louisa. a nazi officer came in with a dutch collaborator with a lot of screaming. my brother and i kind of hid in a corner and were holding to each other for dear life. we never heard anybody scream at
us. they did ask us what our real names were, and we didn't know our real names. we told the names that were on the fake identity papers. they didn't like my father's papers. it wasn't always the perfect fake identity paper at that time, and they took him. it was towards the end of the war, of our occupation, and there were no more trains going east. our railroad tracks had been bombed. so he was thrown in a makeshift prison in the middle of amsterdam. it was a school. one night he tried his door, and the door was open, and then he walked in the hallway, and he walked all the way to the front door, and that was open, and he walked home. they weren't organized anymore. if the people that had picked him up told the people in the jail he lives there and there and he is from there, there, they would have come looking for him, but he came home. a couple of times something like that happened. we were very, very lucky.
>> very lucky. >> yes. >> you had bombings in amsterdam towards the end of the war. >> yeah. >> and that was difficult for you because you couldn't go to the shelter. >> that's correct. there were bombers actually flying over holland. stray bombs that fell off. we had air raid alarms telling you that a bomber was approaching, and my dad knew that the strongest part of the amsterdam rowhouse was the staircase, so we had a routine. the air raid alarm sounds. my brother and i are holding on to each other for dear life and would walk to the door. my father would open the door, check the stairwell. motion to us. we would sit on top of the stairs. my mom would have an emergency basket. selma would always have some blankets or something. an all clear alarm would sound, and tiptoe back into the attic. that happened sometimes 15, 20 times day and night, and we just did it because we never talked back to our parents. whatever they told, you whatever
they were -- that was fine with us. >> right. >> so do you remember the time around liberation? >> yes. we had a strange thing happen. the liberating army liberated -- we had an early onset of severe winter. we were closed off and had eight months off what we called hunger winter. >> right. >> and just before that happened, my father traded a lot of his fabric and a lot of stuff for butter, sugar, and flour, and he baked cookies. his emergency food he said. very nutritious with so much butter in it. very often that's -- >> and tasty. >> yeah. i guess so. that's what we lived off. on may 5th, 1945 there was so much noise on the street that my father took a chair and climbed
down it and looked out of the dormer window. >> something you never did. >> a first for us. he opened the window ask leaned out, and he looked back at us, and he said to us i think it's over. i think we're free because people are waving dutch flags. he was so hungry at that time that he ran to the cupboard and we had miraculously left one tin of cookies. he stuffed his face and put the rest of the tin on the table and said you can all take as much as you want because he knew as soon as liberation came, food would get through. trickling. not very much. but it will be evenly distributed. so my first meal was oatmeal. i didn't like it. i didn't like the consistency of oatmeal. my parents gave it to us, and we never said no, so i ate it, and through my upbringing years in holland with my parents, we had a lot of oatmeal, and i never liked it, but i ate it because i
didn't dare -- i didn't know how to say i didn't like it. my mom passed away a little over three years ago, and just before she passed away, i said i have to tell you one thing. i disliked that oatmeal. she said why didn't you tell me? i never make oatmeal for my children or grandchildren. >> but there's this moving time about when you went outside for the first time. can you tell us a little bit about the canadian soldiers? they're the liberators of the dutch. >> exactly. >> i have seen many people -- >> so grateful to them. yes. after my father -- oh, my brother sat when he was eating cookies when we were allowed to take a whole cookie. he said being free means eating cookies. yeah. so my parents explained they told us what our real names were. like i said, we never talked back, so from maria i became louisa. they waited a couple of days
because they wanted to make sure that everything was okay, and he said we're going outside. we're going to the park. we're going to play outside. we didn't know what that was. so you have to imagine these two kids in rags without shoes. we had, like, booties that mom and selma made for us. we're walking down four flights of stairs following my dad. that was a first. holding on for dear life. then my father opened the front door, and all of a sudden we only had inside we had this dormer window that didn't give much light, but the front door opens, and there's all this light. there are no trees. people have chopped down trees to heat their houses. all this light streams in, and there are no more walls. we were really scared to death. they take us to the park, put us on an open field and say you're free now. go play. so i mimicked everything my brother did. he started crying, so i started crying. he actually said if this is what
it means to be free, i don't want to be free. so my parents took us back upstairs. my mom was crying by that time. she had no idea what happened to any of her relatives or friends because no news came yet, but her children were free, and they didn't like to be free. so they took us back upstairs, explained some more, had some more oatmeal. then a couple of days later they said we'll take you out again, and we're going for a walk. it was a beautiful spring. all dutch people, everybody in rags because everybody had gone through five years of occupation. everybody is walking around -- families, people by themselves. it's just great to be outside. all canadian soldiers that loved to look to amsterdam because it was so -- it's such a beautiful city. they also liked to speak to the people they had liberated, especially children.
when they started talking to us, we didn't know what they were saying. we didn't speak english. they did something much better. they pulled hershey bars out of their pockets. they gave us each a hershey bar and we were allowed to eat it, so two mouthfuls were full because our stomachs were so little. we took the rest of the hershey bar home. next morning something strange happened. we wake up. my brother jumps off his mattress and screams through the attic can we go outside again? my parents -- what is this? kids cry. they don't want to go outside. they're scared. now he wants to go outside again. he wanted more hershey bars. children are resilient. >> that's freedom. hershey bars. so what was your life like in the immediate post-war? people tend to think when the holocaust is over, everything is a smooth and easy road, but it's very difficult for a lot of survivors. what was it like? >> it was actually difficult for all dutch people because we had
nothing. the whole country was raided. it had been raided. there was nothing in the stores. there was absolutely nothing. so we it had to rebuild. my patients decided a couple of things. they were not going to talk about our years of occupation and what happened to our family because only my dad's parents survived, but they figured not talking about the other relatives we didn't know them. they were there are in hiding or gone by the time we were growing up in that attic. so they didn't want to talk about it, but it was hard because i wanted to ask questions, and i was lucky with my friend selma. i spent a lot of summers with her, and i was able to ask her the questions that i couldn't ask my parents. no religion. they thought being jewish was dangerous. they thought that all their lives that something would happen again, so they didn't want to have anything to do with it. my name was louisa israels, so
you can imagine. a little strange to say we're not doing the whole religious thing. i missed that too. on my own when i was 15 i contacted a rabbi. i wanted to know about it, and how did i know that i actually was jewish when i was 9 a couple of things happened. i went to a birthday party, and there were four grandparents. i came home, and i said to my mom, i said there were four grandparents there. did they pick up two from the street? i thought that was normal to have only two. so she had to explain. that was the first time that i realized that there were relatives, and my mom called that they hadn't come back. she never said they were murdered or they were sent to a camp or anything. they hadn't come back. come back from what? i didn't want to ask. >> right. so you didn't even really know the holocaust had occurred. >> nobody talked. nobody. rebuilt the country and don't talk. don't dwell on what happened. the other thing is that my brother and i walked to the post
office to mail a letter, and it was around christmas time. somebody stopped us and said do you have a christmas tree in your house? we didn't even know what that was. she said, oh, good, i can see you shouldn't have one. you're jewish. we came home, and today you would say, you know, do your mother -- my mother's face, am i jewish? what was that? she waited for my dad to come home, and she had to explain that. >> you went to denmark for a time. is that correct? >> sweden. >> i knew it was a scandinavian compa country. >> there was no job for my dad. we came back to holland. >> how is it that you came to the united states? how is that -- >> okay. that is -- >> that's a nice story. >> that's not holocaust-related. >> no. >> i did all my schooling in holland, and i became a physical therapist, and my husband was an american medical student in amsterdam. we met. we fell in love. we got married.
he still had to finish all his studies, so i kind of helped put him through school, and he did his last exam, and the same day our first daughter was born. then we came here in 1967. >> you are still a physical therapist, and you worked as a physical therapist here in the states. >> for a while, yes. >> yes. >> you want to tell us about your family? >> yes. i have three wonderful daughters, and we have six grandchildr grandchildren. so you see terrible things can happen to you, but you can get lucky with parents like i did. also, very lucky with finding a wonderful husband and starting a wonderful family. >> do you -- is there anything you want to talk about about how you experiences shaped the way you thought for a long time? >> yes. my parents, i told you -- >> it's an interesting story. the audience might want to hear
it. >> it's a time of my life i'm not very proud of. i'm sharing it with you because i'm hoping that you're not going to repeat what i did. you can repeat what i said, but not what i did. my parents brought us up with a lot of hatred towards anything german, and it wasn't just my parents. it was all the dutch people. i heard people say that the dutch people hated the germans more than the germans hated jews. that's a big statement. it was really unbelievable. so we had derogatory words that we used. we hated everything german. that's how i grew up, and that's how i lived. if a german tourist would ask me where is the ann frank house and ann frank house was there, i would tell them to go that way, and i think that was funny. then when we got married and had
children, i continued. i -- with this terrible hatred. you wonder why didn't your husband stop you? my husband knows how to pick his battles. if he had said anything against my parents, we wouldn't be married 51 years today. but there came a time my husband was in the military, american military, and we were naturo he junl, and our 9-year-old daughter range the doorbell of a german. there was duplex housing on the base. in one part lived the president of the jewish community and i brought -- we brought up our children with religion. you know, contrary to what my parents did. and she range the doorbell. she said do you have this german family living next to you? they hate jews and one day they will kill you. when i was told that, i thought -- i was in my 30s. i cannot imagine that i kept this going so long.
>> it would have been the 60 es's then? >> she was born in 1969. that was already -- >> 70's. >> yeah. >> so i realized that it's not her fault for saying nasty things. it was my fault. my husband and i talked, and we got some professional help, and we were able to turn it around. my big thing is hatred gets you nowhere. it gets you a holocaust. we stopped. two of our children are married to american servicemen and stationed in germany, speak german, have german friends, so i think we were just in time, and today i think that much younger generation can keep on hating, and you can't keep on blaming. it only gets you -- >> i think that's a good point to stop and maybe open the floor to all of you for questions. you can see on both sides of the
podium i think you have mic microphones here. i'm going to put on my glasses so i don't call one of you a sir when you're a ma'am. i do that. we have microphones there, and our wonderful colleagues are moving down to them. does somebody want to come and ask a question for louise? yes, ma'am. >> what was your reaction when your parents told you your real name? >> repeat the question. we have a young lady here in the front, and she said what was your reaction when you learned your real name? >> it's a good question, but whatever my parents told us, if you can compare it today, that was the law. we had never learned to say anything against what they told us. we took everything they said for granted, and i lived like that all through my married life
until my parents passed away. i never went against them. so when they told me my name was loui louisa, okay. >> that's why i called you maria instead of louise when i introduced you. see, i knew that. >> that's all right. >> are there other questions? yes, ma'am. do you maybe want -- can you run that -- oh, perfect. thank you. perfect. there we go. >> thank you very much. to start with, we really appreciate you sharing today. can you tell us a little bit about your brother and maybe a little bit more about his journey and where he is now? >> okay. my brother lives in amsterdam, and he doesn't talk about what happened. his family is not jewish. when we're together, we talk, but that's about all he wants to talk about it. he just -- maybe he does a similar thing to my parents.
he just does still use derogatory words for germans, but he doesn't want to talk about it. he was a very successful oncologist. his patients loved him. he is a very successful oncolog, his patients love him and he's a very nice. for many years he actually blamed my parents. look at all these freedom and look how they all crawl in ted e sand and played outside. i never had that. >> my reaction is look at all tl love that we had. i don't think we missed out a lot. >> you had siblings that were born after. >> yes. we had so many relatives that were murdered. my parents decided, they still have a table of full people.
i still have three siblings. >> were they all interested in what happened to your parents? >> very little. i get questions. they ask me what i do and my oldest brother always says why do you and why rehash all these stuff. i think it is important that you guys know what happened. i am only a tiny person of the puzzle. you hear people talk and you can put it together, you know? get a full idea of it. >> other questions? yes, ma'am, if you can step over here, there you go. the young lady behind you and after you, perfect. thank you. >> i thank you for sharing your story, i would like to ask the question is that you said you
had learned hatred because of the things you heard your parents say, but you said that when you got older, you and your husband realized that you needed professional help. can you tell me the one thing through your counseling that you got that helped you healing from the atrocity that happened to you. >> i don't think there is ever a he healing. i needed to make sure that our children live free with out hatred. that's why we got to help. when i saw that worked, and we were really a happy family together, the five of us, my husband and myself and the three children. i saw that wohen that worked, i calmed down. i started to realize how lovable
my parents were. i realized when i moved to the area of 1993 and the museum just opened. maybe i needed to do something more. so people ask, is it difficult for you to talk? no, i think it is important for people to know. you can go home and if you meet somebody that says, it never happened. you can say, well, we have been to the holocaust in washington and i saw somebody that lived through it. you say it does not happen, you are a liar, it did happen. >> to me it is important. while we are not here anymore to talk then there is this museum and they have all our stories and they have everything and they'll continue and it is important that people know that this happened. that's the way that you learn. >> the young lady behind, ma'am?
yes, please come down to the microphone. sorry, i cannot see you very well. there you go. thank you, gabrielle. when you were -- when you were in the park, did you see other families there, what were they doing? >> when we went to the park, i don't think we looked for anybody else, we were too scared. the second time when we went out and we got the hershey's bar, we saw that it was full. at the beginning, i could not read when we were redeliberated. i did not know how to social siz ize. that was hard. i only knew my parent and my siblings. when my mom rented a place in
the country because she wanted a place, a room with a kitchen and a a bathroom. because she wanted us to be outside and put us in school. i went to nursing school and i went to first grade. it was a learning curve to be with all the children. it was wonderful when i finally got used to that. >> yes, sir. >> yes, i was just thinking about president jackson signing the indian removal act of the 1930s where indians were rounded up and put in the reservations and murders. the slave trade and the japanese in world war ii and today and muslims and mexicans are being persecuted. why do you think persecution of the entire culture is readily
accepted here? >> gentleman right there. >> that's a hard question. it is apart of human nature to -- pick on minorities. pick on the unknown and the other and the best way to contract that is exactly what louise is doing and what other museums here are doing and that's educating especially young people of how insidious hatred and prejudice is. i am particularly proud of our volunteers because everyone has that kind of message for-- i af sure we'll hear something about that. it keeps on happening. never again with the holocaust and genocide, it is part of it,
there is genocide today in syria according to our center of the preventions of wilhelms preventions. it is still happening and it is our job to work on that. not just to remember the holocau holocaust. thank you very much. >> and i think with that, i want to thank you all for coming. i want you to remind you that we have the first person program, every wednesday and thursday, please check for our web casts for past shows and shows that are coming on. i am going to turn the floor over to louise for a moment. first, i want to talk about a little audience participation that we are planning for r tthed of our program today. after louise has her last say, we are going to ask everyone to
stand and our wonderful photographer, joe, is going to take a picture of all of you with louise and you will all have a moment of photo op with louise, give our last word of wisdom for us. >> i will try. during the holocaust, approximately 12 million people were brutally people. out of the 12 million were 6 million jews and from the 6 million jews were a million and a half jewish children, just birth to about 15-year-olds. they were innocent children that never did anything wrong. they were persecuted and murdered because they were jewish. the holocaust was genocide. you heard from patricia. it never stopped, like the world
did not learned in the late '70s was cambodia and bosnia. >> people are murdered because they may have different religion or skin color. that's why they are murdered. i am aware of it and i am sure that you are aware of it because you are here. but, my message would be everybody knows about a bully in their neighborhood, in the school and their neighborhood, a bully as you all know, he or she wants to get away with terrible things. in my opinion, hitler was the worst bully that ever walked on this earth. people are afraid of bullies.
my advise is don't be afraid of a bully. it takes a lot of courage. never approach a bully on your own. ask for help, teacher or principal or grandparents. if none of the people can help you is available, use your phone or borrow someone's phone and call the police or tell them what's going on. drugs, alcohol, beatings -- you can figure out anything. the people that you ask to help will help you. one person that starts it and you will find out how many people are afraid and they'll be happy to help you. stand up to a bully and don't let he or she get away with it because if you don't stop it, it will continue forever. it is as simple as living in your neighborhood.