Like other Jews, the Lewents were confined to the Warsaw ghetto. In 1942, as Abraham hid in a crawl space, the Germans seized his mother and sisters in a raid. They perished. He was deployed for forced labor nearby, but escaped to return to his father in the ghetto. In 1943, the two were deported to Majdanek, where Abraham's father died. Abraham later was sent to Skarzysko, Buchenwald, Schlieben, Bisingen, and Dachau. US troops liberated Abraham as the Germans evacuated prisoners.
The hunger in the ghetto was so great, was so bad, that people were laying on the streets and dying, little children went around begging, and, uh, everyday you walked out in the morning, you see somebody is laying dead, covered with newspapers or with any kind of blanket they found, and you found...those people used to carry the dead people in little wagons, used to bring them down to the cemetery and bury them in mass graves. And every day thousands and thousands died just from malnutrition because the Germans didn't give anything for the people in the ghetto to eat. There was no such thing. You can't walk in and buy anything, or getting any rations. It's your hard luck. If you don't have it, you die, and that's what it was.
What is the significance of survivor testimonies in our understanding of the history of the Holocaust?
How do oral histories differ from other primary sources such as artifacts, documents, and photographs? What can we learn from different types of primary sources?
What other source materials might be helpful to provide more historical context for this eyewitness testimony? What aspects of the history might these other source materials help reveal?
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