The haunting images of Holocaust survivors - The Buffalo News

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The haunting images of Holocaust survivors

Survivor: A Portrait of the Survivors of the Holocaust, by Harry Borden, Cassell, 276 pages, ($39.99)

In time for Holocaust Remembrance Day, this book does what the special 12-page pull-out section in Sunday's Buffalo News set out to do: It uses portraits and words to tell stories of the dwindling numbers of Holocaust-era survivors.

Acclaimed photographer Harry Borden focused his lens on more than 100 people. His portraits are next to words from his subjects. In the back of the book are in-depth biographies that help fill in the blanks.

Some portraits show survivors haunted by their experiences. Others depict resilience, or love of family, or a wish for peace for mankind. Some say their ability to go on to lead successful lives and to bring Jewish children into the world signified triumph over the Nazis failed attempt to expunge Jews from the earth.

In one poignant portrait, Dan Vaintraub, partly photographed in shadow, says, "The day of my birth tells all the story. 10.11.1938." That was two days after Kristallnacht, "the Night of Broken Glass," when Jewish shops and synagogues were burned, and Jews were sent off to concentration camps, beaten and killed.

Standing straight, and looking off in the distance, Manek Altstock says, "Even now I dream of the moment my father told me to run ... I never saw him again."

In an argyle sweater, Leon Jedwab, looking off in the distance, says, "I believe I'm the last Holocaust survivor out of the 70 or so Jewish families including my mother, sister and brother who lived in my birthplace of Zagorow in Poland. I still live with the nightmares."

And this, from Inge Auerbacher: "I stand tall and proud. My voice shouts in silence loud; I am a real person still. No one can break my spirit or will! I am a star!"

Clipped to her blouse is the yellow Star of David with the word "Jude" -- German for Jew -- the Nazis made Jews wear in public.

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