Holocaust Survivor Lecturer shares story of survival

Rachel Goldman Miller spent much of her childhood in constant fear. As one of countless “hidden children” of the Holocaust, Miller had to conceal her identity from friends, neighbors, and the authorities. Though she survived, her mother, father, and three siblings did not. To honor their memory, and the memory of the more than six million innocent people who died in the Nazi concentration camps, Rachel Miller continues to tell her story.

The Cornell community and the public can hear Miller during Cornell College’s Holocaust Survivor Lecture on April 16 at 6:30 p.m. in the Hall-Perrine Room of the Thomas Commons.

Rachel Goldman Miller holding a photo of a young child
Rachel Goldman Miller

Miller’s family fled Poland for France years before the Nazi invasion. In fact, Miller was born in 1933 in Paris, and her family lived a relatively normal existence until the Nazis invaded France in 1940. That’s when her life changed radically.

Despite the family’s attempts to live a normal life, Miller’s mother insisted that Miller not tell anyone she was Jewish. And in an even more drastic effort to hide her identity, her mother sent Miller to live with a Catholic family on a farm in the country and changed her name to “Christine.”

The German SS and French authorities eventually took her father into custody, and he later died, the victim of German medical experiments. She lost her mother, two brothers, and a sister. Although she had always known her family had perished during the war, it wasn’t until 2001 that she learned they had all died at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Miller emigrated to the United States in 1946, and eventually married and raised a family. She now lives in the St. Louis metro area, and regularly speaks about her experiences.

The event is sponsored by The Thaler Holocaust Committee in conjunction with the Cornell Chaplain & Spiritual Life Office. It’s one of several public appearances Miller will make in the area sponsored by the Thaler Holocaust Memorial Fund and the Inter-Religious Council of Linn County as part of the annual Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day. This event is free and open to the public.