Voices of survivors relive the horrors of the Holocaust

Voices of survivors relive the horrors of the Holocaust

In their voices, there is the horror of a time 71 years ago.

The 22 interviews with Holocaust survivors living in Wisconsin have been preserved by the Wisconsin Historical Society. They detail their lives before, during and after the Holocaust.

“The interviews that they did around the state in 1980 and 1981 sometimes lasted 12 hours. They would be three or four days’ worth of interview done with these people to find out, not just what they did in the 1940s, but what it was like to be the only Jewish family in Monroe, Wausau or wherever,” said Michael Edmonds, deputy director of the Wisconsin Historical Society.

The interviews with Holocaust survivors are now available online.

While it has been 71 years since the liberation of Auschwitz, the emotions felt by Holocaust survivors are clear in the recordings.

“The transcripts contain data. They contain information. The audio recordings that we make available contain the people’s emotions. They get to the heart of the matter. I can sit here and read a transcript and extract information from it, but then I put on the headphones and listen and hold back the tears, because you are hearing people relive some of the great horrors of our time,” Edmonds said.

As the years claim the Holocaust survivors, preserving their stories becomes more important.

“There is no substitute for listening to history, to listening to the people’s voices talking about the events,” Edmonds said. “We are all the product of our history and to collect, preserve and share those stories that make us who we are, both individually and as a culture is what we are all about.”