Renee Kolender | S.C. Voices: Lessons from the Holocaust
Born near Warsaw in 1922, Renee Kolender experienced a good childhood until war broke out, ending school, ending everything. Children were taken from the streets to work each day. Her family was trapped in the ghetto. They stayed there for two years, always battling starvation. Eventually the family was transported to a concentration camp in 1943 and her brother and father were taken away. "If you looked tired, you would be killed." Father was killed; mother died. On Liberation Day, prisoners didn't know where to go. She went home on a cattle train; it was cold, lonely, freezing, with nobody and no food at home. Some Poles started killing Jews again. It was bad everywhere. Renee came to the U.S. to stay with an uncle in Charleston, S.C. She underwent a tremendous amount of fear, physical abuse, and hunger that's impossible to describe. "I myself don't believe that I went through it and pray to God that things like this could never be allowed to happen again."