The Holocaust officially ended on May 8, 1945. But for many who survived, the end of the Holocaust was just the beginning of a long and difficult journey.
The last Nazi concentration camp was not liberated until May 11, 1945—a full two weeks after Hitler had committed suicide in his bunker and Germany had surrendered unconditionally to Allied forces. The last ghetto was not liquidated until July 1945—over three months after the war ended.
In the months and years that followed, many Holocaust survivors faced immense challenges as they attempted to rebuild their lives. For some, this meant struggling to find food and shelter while living in displaced persons camps; for others, it meant finding ways to escape persecution by anti-semitic groups or governments in Europe (and elsewhere).
For many survivors, however, rebuilding their lives meant grappling with the horrors they had experienced during World War II—the loss of loved ones; witnessing mass executions; being subjected to medical experiments without consent; being forced into slave labor camps so far away from home that returning seemed impossible; surviving under conditions so harsh that death would have been preferable…