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Table of Contents
About this Issue
Remembering September 11th
Holocaust Survivors Reflect on September 11th
Teaching the Holocaust in an Age of Terror
Remembering and Commemorating September 11th
Glossary of Terms

Volume 16, No. 1/ Fall 2002   
Holocaust Survivors Reflect on September 11th
Recognizing Terror and Injustice

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Holocaust Survivors Reflect on September 11th
•  Feeling Out of Control
•  Recognizing Terror and Injustice
•  Shattered Dreams
•  Remembering Tyranny
•  Seven Months Later: Discussion Questions and Activities for Teachers
•  Table of Contents
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Betty Grebenshikoff and her family emigrated from Berlin, Germany, to the Shanghai Ghetto, China, where they survived the Holocaust. On a bus heading towards New York when the attacks occurred, she recalled similarities to Kristallnacht and the events of September 11th.

On September 11th, I was on a bus going to New York — a public service bus going from Atlantic City to New York. I was with one of my daughters.

She heard a woman go up to the driver and tell him he should turn around because she had received a call that the tunnels and bridges were closed. The driver said that he would not turn around. He had his orders and would not do anything else unless he received a call from his company.
Betty Grebenshikoff

I got out my cell phone to call my husband, Oleg, but I couldn't get through. Neither could I get through to Seattle to my other children.

Behind us was an older lady who was shaking and crying. I said to my daughter, "I know she is a survivor." We began to talk to the woman, comforting her.

They drove on further and then people saw, across the Meadows, the Twin Towers smoking. I then got through to my husband who said that a plane had hit the Towers. The woman behind us was crying and talking on her cell phone in another language that sounded like Hungarian.

The driver still refused to turn around. He reminded me of Germans who "just followed orders." Around Exit 13, near Elizabeth, the traffic was beginning to back up but the driver still insisted he couldn't do anything unless he heard from his boss.

Then a New Jersey state trooper got on the bus and told him to turn around at the next exit. I felt shaken. I thought to myself, "I've been through this before." I could still see the towers or one tower standing. However, I never saw the planes.

There are still bad people in the world. Terror and injustice. The killing of civilians who didn't do anything to anyone else. Kristallnacht targeted Jews — innocents. The terrorists of September 11th were also targeting innocent human beings.

Discussion Questions

1. Why do you think the bus driver was so insistent on carrying out his duties even after passengers told him of the terrorist attacks?

2. How did the bus driver's actions remind Betty of obedience during the Nazi era?

3. Why did September 11th remind Betty of Kristallnacht, the "night of broken glass"? Explain.

Suggested Activities

1. Consider the lessons of Stanley Milgram's experiment on obedience.

2. Watch the video "The Wave" and/or "Heil Hitler: Confessions of a Hitler Youth", then discuss the issue of obedience to authority.

Dimensions Online
Volume 18, No. 1, Fall 2004
Yehuda Bauer

Volume 17, No. 2, Fall 2003
Using Testimonies for Researching and Teaching about the Holocaust--Part II

Volume 17, No.1, Spring 2003
Using Testimonies for Researching and Teaching about the Holocaust-- Part I

Volume 16, No. 1, Fall 2002
Remembrance and Commemoration of Two Catastrophes: September 11th and the Holocaust

Articles from the Print Editions of Dimensions
Dimensions continues to be the leading journal in Holocaust studies -- appealing to both serious scholars and the mainstream audience.
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