On Holocaust Remembrance Day, a Survivor Shares Her Story

Never forget. These two words, appealing to the world to remember the tragedy and horrors of the Holocaust, were front and center as survivor Trudy Album shared her experiences with upper school students on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Designated by the United Nations General Assembly in 2005, the day commemorates the victims of the Holocaust. It takes place annually on January 27, the anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. 

Album, who was sent to Auschwitz at 15 and was the only member of her family to survive the camp, spoke during the Afternoon Meeting.

Upon arriving in Auschwitz, Album was separated from her mother and two sisters, whom she never saw again. She described unimaginable hardships and inhumane conditions in the camps where she was forced to do hard labor: starvation, malnourishment, sickness, death. When she and fellow survivors were liberated by the American army, “You can imagine the joy,” she said. 

Shortly after the war, Album immigrated to America. “Life was difficult,” Album shared. “I didn’t speak the language. I was emotionally broken, physically broken. But you have strength, you pull yourself up. I made the best of it.” She married in 1950 and went on to have three children and seven grandchildren. 

The Jewish Culture Club was instrumental in bringing Album to the School. Maddie Marlowe ’23, co-president of the club with Lexi Wachen ’22, first heard Album speak two years ago. “She has an amazing way of sharing her story with others,” Marlowe said. “We need to hear the stories from the survivors of the Holocaust to show that something like this could happen and to make sure it does not happen again. It is my obligation, as a Jew, to make sure we ‘never forget.’” 

Wachen, whose grandfather was a Holocaust survivor, sees International Holocaust Remembrance Day as “a day of reflection and learning.” She highlighted the value of hearing from survivors, noting that “As effective as textbooks and articles can be, hearing someone talk about first-hand experiences, especially one like Album's, is really important.” 

Album is committed to sharing her story, explaining to students that as survivors pass away, “You are the generation that will carry the story of these dark days.”

When asked if there was one message that every student takes away from her story, Album didn’t hesitate: “You are your brother’s keeper. Take care of one another.” 

To read more about Trudy Album, please visit her website. She has also shared her story with the United States Holocaust Memoriam Museum.