Shoah Resource Center, The International School for Holocaust Studies 2
From the Testimony of Miriam Steiner: "We Began to Take In the Enormous Loss"
From the testimony of Miriam Steiner, born in 1929 in Hungary. Deported to
the Auschwitz and Ravensbruck camps. Liberated by the Red Army in the
middle of a death march to Germany. Immigrated to Palestine in 1946.
"In fact, we were supposed to begin normalization, the great crisis had not yet
hit us. It began when my cousin came home a few days later. I barely
recognized him, because that kid, that big slob, had two big ears, a big nose
and two cavities for eyes. He began to recover from his "Musselman"
condition. For the first time I cried, I fell on him and I cried at how he looked,
because then I suddenly woke up. He was the start of my crisis, of the crisis of
ours as a whole... He embraced me and said only this: "You should know one
thing, don't wait for your father and your brother". He repeated that many
times... My mother and I received a small flat, a one-room flat in
grandmother's house, and mentally speaking things began to get worse and
worse, because people started to come back with all kinds of stories, and we
knew that only we two were left. The second thing was the possibility of
making a living. Besides the soup and food and the meager clothing we
received from the Joint, you could deal in the black market, if you knew how.
My mother and I didn't know how to do such things. We knew for certain that
others had found the gold which my father had hidden in the garden, we even
knew who, but for the time being the grief was so great that this did not affect
us, because that was not our real loss.
"Now we began to realize the enormity of the loss, we began to understand
that Grandfather and Grandmother and hardly any of our relatives had
returned, only that one cousin, and his father also returned later on. People
said we shouldn't wait for them, but the truth is that we waited all the time for
my father. And I only want to say that I often look around, as though I am still searching... not for Father, it is my brother for whom I am still looking all the
time. I know it is completely unrealistic, because formally I am not searching,
I, I cast about with my eyes..."
From: Kleiman, Yehudit and Shpringer-Aharoni, Nina (eds.), The Pain of
Liberation, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, 1995, p. 47.