In January 2020 Judith Dim Evans shared her story of being a Jewish girl growing up in Nazi Germany during World War II in her talk, “Memoirs of a Holocaust Survivor,” at USC Aiken.
Larry Wood reported her words for the Aiken Standard.
Some quotes from her talk are selected below.
Judith Dim Evans. Larry Wood / Aiken Standard
The aftermath of Kristallnacht:
“I remember holding my Mother’s hand. I can feel her hand here today. She squeezed my hand and looked down at me and said, ‘Don’t worry. Nothing will happen to us. We are Germans.’ And this is what she believed. I can still smell the smoke and the shouting, ‘Dirty Jew. Death to the Jews.’”
The last time she saw her mother:
“I took my brother by the hand, and we ran quickly to the police station,” Evans said. “In front of the police station were young women with the Magen David. My mother was sitting on one side. I was running and shouting, ‘Mookie, Mookie.’ She stretched her hand out. I was trying to touch her hand. I can still feel it and see it today. I couldn’t reach her. I never saw her again.”
When good people don't speak up:
“I want to make the point that there were a lot of good German people. They weren’t members of the Nazi party, but they didn’t speak up early enough,” Evans said. “Never believe what people tell you about the ‘all’: ‘All’ Jews are like this. ‘All’ white people are like this. ‘All’ doesn’t exist.”
When her grandmother was taken away:
“They took her to the Jewish cemetery where they built barracks for old Jewish women to let them die there. They let people come to bring them food. I always had to hide between the bushes to go in because there were always in front of the cemetery those young Nazi boys."
“One day, someone jumped me from the back. I had a brown ceramic pot of thick stone with milk to take to Grandma. They took the pot and broke it on my head. I can feel the drops on my face from the milk, and my feeling in my heart was I will have no milk to bring to Grandma.”
Why she became a teacher and school principal and what she wanted children to learn:
“To think for themselves, to be open minded, to be tolerant, to talk to each other and not to listen to propaganda and not to belong so religiously to one party.”
“Have the guts to talk, especially in the beginning before it’s too late. Talk to each other. Work together. You want to hate someone? Go to the gym.”
On her duty as a Holocaust survivor:
“I feel obligated to be a good person and to bring good to the world. We owe the dead. We owe not only them but also all the soldiers – the Americans and British - who gave their lives to free us from the Nazi party. We owe them.”