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  • Hans Heimann describes Italian aid to Jews

    Oral History

    The Germans annexed Austria in March 1938. In 1939, Hans fled first to Hungary and then to Italy. He and his parents were interned in various towns. Hans's father became ill and died in 1940. In 1943, Hans and his mother were warned of German plans to deport Jews from Italy to Poland. They moved to smaller towns until liberation by the British in August 1943. Hans worked as an interpreter for the Allies until 1945, when he worked for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and helped resettle…

    Tags: Italy
    Hans Heimann describes Italian aid to Jews
  • Blanka Rothschild describes the beginning of the German invasion of Poland when she and her family were in Lodz

    Oral History

    Blanka was an only child in a close-knit family in Lodz, Poland. Her father died in 1937. After the German invasion of Poland, Blanka and her mother remained in Lodz with Blanka's grandmother, who was unable to travel. Along with other relatives, they were forced into the Lodz ghetto in 1940. There, Blanka worked in a bakery. She and her mother later worked in a hospital in the Lodz ghetto, where they remained until late 1944 when they were deported to the Ravensbrueck camp in Germany. From Ravensbrueck,…

    Blanka Rothschild describes the beginning of the German invasion of Poland when she and her family were in Lodz
  • Nesse Galperin Godin describes the formation of the Siauliai ghetto

    Oral History

    Nesse's family had a dairy business. The Germans occupied Lithuania in 1941 and established a ghetto in Siauliai. Nesse lived in the ghetto until 1943 when she was old enough to work. In 1944 Nesse, her mother, and a brother were deported to the Stutthof camp near Danzig. Nesse worked in several Stutthof subcamps until January 1945, when the inmates were put on a death march. She was liberated by the Soviets in March. Nesse, her mother, and two brothers survived, and she arrived in the United States in…

    Nesse Galperin Godin describes the formation of the Siauliai ghetto
  • Fritzie Weiss Fritzshall describes deportation in cattle car to Auschwitz

    Oral History

    Fritzie's father immigrated to the United States, but by the time he could bring his family over, war had begun and Fritzie's mother feared attacks on transatlantic shipping. Fritzie, her mother, and two brothers were eventually sent to Auschwitz. Her mother and brothers died. Fritzie survived by pretending to be older than her age and thus a stronger worker. On a death march from Auschwitz, Fritzie ran into a forest, where she was later liberated.

    Tags: deportations
    Fritzie Weiss Fritzshall describes deportation in cattle car to Auschwitz
  • Rifka Muscovitz Glatz describes emotions surrounding the establishment of the state of Israel

    Oral History

    Rifka was raised in a religious family in Debrecen. In the early 1940s, her family moved to Cluj (Kolozsvar) in Northern Transylvania, annexed to Hungary from Romania in 1940. In 1944, she and her family were forced to leave their house in Cluj. They were rounded up by Hungarian troops helping the Nazis and taken to a brick factory where they stayed for a month. In June 1944, Rifka was transported to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Eight months later she was transported to Switzerland. She sailed to…

    Rifka Muscovitz Glatz describes emotions surrounding the establishment of the state of Israel
  • Fela Warschau describes reading lists of names to find surviving family members

    Oral History

    Fela was liberated at Bergen-Belsen by the British army in 1945. She went to a displaced persons (DP) camp administered by the Americans in Feldafing, near Munich. She married in the DP camp in 1946, and eventually immigrated to the United States.

    Fela Warschau describes reading lists of names to find surviving family members
  • Wallace Witkowski describes harsh living conditions for non-Jews in Poland

    Oral History

    Wallace and his family were Polish Catholics. His father was a chemical engineer and his mother a teacher. The Germans occupied Kielce in 1939. Wallace witnessed pogroms against Jews in 1942. Wallace was active in the anti-Nazi resistance, acting as a courier between partisan groups. In 1946, in liberated Poland, Wallace witnessed the Kielce pogrom. He was reunited with his father in the United States in 1949; other family members followed. The Communist regime in Poland, however, denied his only sister…

    Wallace Witkowski describes harsh living conditions for non-Jews in Poland
  • Sandor (Shony) Alex Braun describes how music gave him the strength to survive while imprisoned in concentration camps

    Oral History

    Shony was born to religious Jewish parents in a small Transylvanian city. He began to learn the violin at age 5. His town was occupied by Hungary in 1940 and by Germany in 1944. In May 1944, he was deported to the Auschwitz camp in Poland. He was transferred to the Natzweiler camp system in France and then to Dachau, where he was liberated by US troops in April 1945. In 1950, he immigrated to the United States, and became a composer and a professional violinist.

    Sandor (Shony) Alex Braun describes how music gave him the strength to survive while imprisoned in concentration camps
  • Fritzie Weiss Fritzshall describes the death march from Auschwitz

    Oral History

    Fritzie's father immigrated to the United States, but by the time he could bring his family over, war had begun and Fritzie's mother feared attacks on transatlantic shipping. Fritzie, her mother, and two brothers were eventually sent to Auschwitz. Her mother and brothers died. Fritzie survived by pretending to be older than her age and thus a stronger worker. On a death march from Auschwitz, Fritzie ran into a forest, where she was later liberated.

    Fritzie Weiss Fritzshall describes the death march from Auschwitz
  • Leo Melamed describes train ride across the Soviet Union

    Oral History

    Leo was seven years old when Germany invaded Poland in September 1939. Before the war, Leo's father was a mathematics teacher and member of the Bialystok City Council. Fearing arrest, Leo's father fled Bialystok for Vilna just before the German occupation. Leo and his mother eventually joined his father in Vilna. After the Soviets occupied Vilna, Leo's father obtained transit visas to Japan. The family left Vilna in December 1940, traveled across the Soviet Union on the Trans-Siberian Express, and arrived…

    Tags: escape
    Leo Melamed describes train ride across the Soviet Union
  • Ruth Berkowicz Segal describes deciding to leave Warsaw shortly after the outbreak of war

    Oral History

    When German forces invaded Poland in September 1939, Ruth's father fled to eastern Poland. Upon the Soviet occupation of eastern Poland, he fled to Lithuania. Ruth left Warsaw with two friends to find her father and later joined him in Vilna. After Soviet forces occupied Lithuania, Ruth and her father obtained transit visas for Japan, but only Ruth obtained a Soviet exit visa. Her father insisted she leave and not wait for him. Ruth traveled by the Trans-Siberian Railroad across the Soviet Union to…

    Ruth Berkowicz Segal describes deciding to leave Warsaw shortly after the outbreak of war
  • Yonia Fain describes leaving Warsaw after the German invasion of Poland

    Oral History

    After World War I, Yonia's family moved to Vilna. Yonia studied painting and graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Vilna. When Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, Yonia was living with his wife in Warsaw. They fled to Brest-Litovsk in eastern Poland, occupied by Soviet forces in mid-September 1939. Then Yonia and his wife escaped to Vilna. After the Soviets occupied Vilna in June 1940, Yonia and his wife forged Japanese transit visas and left for Japan. In Japan, they were unable to obtain valid…

    Yonia Fain describes leaving Warsaw after the German invasion of Poland
  • Eva Rappoport Edmands describes packing to leave Vienna for France in 1938

    Oral History

    After the German annexation of Austria in March 1938, Eva's family decided to leave Vienna for Paris. Eva and her mother were later trapped in the occupied area of France while her father was in the unoccupied area after the French armistice with Germany in 1940. They were eventually reunited and together tried to find refuge in Switzerland, but were caught by the French police. They received help from a priest in Annecy and survived the war under his protection. After the liberation of France in August…

    Eva Rappoport Edmands describes packing to leave Vienna for France in 1938
  • Francis Akos describes experiences in the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust

    Oral History

    After the Germans occupied Hungary in March 1944, Francis was deported to Neuengamme, a concentration camp located on the outskirts of Hamburg, Germany. Later, as Allied forces advanced, Francis and other prisoners were transported from Neuengamme. They were placed on a cargo ship which sailed into Luebeck Bay, where the prisoners were crowded onto the "Cap Arcona." The "Cap Arcona" and other ships were bombed in early May 1945. Francis was rescued and came ashore in the German town of Neustadt, where…

    Francis Akos describes experiences in the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust
  • Frima L. describes how her Holocaust experiences affect her life today

    Oral History

    While Frima's family was confined to a ghetto, Nazis used her father as an interpreter. He later perished. By pretending not to be Jews, Frima, her mother, and sister escaped a German mobile killing unit massacre. They were later discovered and jailed. Again, her mother devised an escape. Frima's mother and sister were smuggled to Romania, while Frima wandered in search of safekeeping until her mother could arrange to smuggle her out. In Romania, they were reunited and liberated.

    Frima L. describes how her Holocaust experiences affect her life today
  • Edward Adler describes arrest and imprisonment in prewar Germany for his relationship with a non-Jewish woman

    Oral History

    Edward was born to a Jewish family in Hamburg. In 1935, the Nuremberg Laws prohibited marriage or sexual relations between German non-Jews and Jews. Edward was then in his mid-twenties. Edward was arrested for dating a non-Jewish woman. Classified as a habitual offender, he was later deported to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, near Berlin. He was forced to perform hard labor in construction projects. Edward had married shortly before his imprisonment, and his wife made arrangements for their…

    Edward Adler describes arrest and imprisonment in prewar Germany for his relationship with a non-Jewish woman
  • Hanne Hirsch Liebmann describes the effects of Kristallnacht (the "Night of Broken Glass")

    Oral History

    Hanne's family owned a photographic studio. In October 1940, she and other family members were deported to the Gurs camp in southern France. In September 1941, the Children's Aid Society (OSE) rescued Hanne and she hid in a children's home in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon. Her mother perished in Auschwitz. In 1943, Hanne obtained false papers and crossed into Switzerland. She married in Geneva in 1945 and had a daughter in 1946. In 1948, she arrived in the United States.

    Hanne Hirsch Liebmann describes the effects of Kristallnacht (the "Night of Broken Glass")
  • Nesse Galperin Godin describes her appearance at the time she was liberated

    Oral History

    Nesse's family had a dairy business. The Germans occupied Lithuania in 1941 and established a ghetto in Siauliai. Nesse lived in the ghetto until 1943 when she was old enough to work. In 1944 Nesse, her mother, and a brother were deported to the Stutthof camp near Danzig. Nesse worked in several Stutthof subcamps until January 1945, when the inmates were put on a death march. She was liberated by the Soviets in March. Nesse, her mother, and two brothers survived, and she arrived in the United States in…

    Nesse Galperin Godin describes her appearance at the time she was liberated
  • Nesse Galperin Godin describes seeing her reflection in a mirror upon liberation

    Oral History

    Nesse's family had a dairy business. The Germans occupied Lithuania in 1941 and established a ghetto in Siauliai. Nesse lived in the ghetto until 1943 when she was old enough to work. In 1944 Nesse, her mother, and a brother were deported to the Stutthof camp near Danzig. Nesse worked in several Stutthof subcamps until January 1945, when the inmates were put on a death march. She was liberated by the Soviets in March. Nesse, her mother, and two brothers survived, and she arrived in the United States in…

    Nesse Galperin Godin describes seeing her reflection in a mirror upon liberation
  • Fritzie Weiss Fritzshall describes receiving help from a prisoner in the "Kanada" detail upon arrival at Auschwitz

    Oral History

    Fritzie's father immigrated to the United States, but by the time he could bring his family over, war had begun and Fritzie's mother feared attacks on transatlantic shipping. Fritzie, her mother, and two brothers were eventually sent to Auschwitz. Her mother and brothers died. Fritzie survived by pretending to be older than her age and thus a stronger worker. On a death march from Auschwitz, Fritzie ran into a forest, where she was later liberated.

    Fritzie Weiss Fritzshall describes receiving help from a prisoner in the "Kanada" detail upon arrival at Auschwitz
  • Mayer Adler describes surviving as a child in Auschwitz

    Oral History

    Mayer grew up in a rural town that was occupied by Hungary in 1940. After Germany occupied Hungary in March 1944, Mayer and his family were forced into a ghetto. They were then deported to the Auschwitz camp in Poland, where Mayer's parents and brothers perished. Mayer was selected for forced labor, and was later transferred to a satellite camp of Dachau, in Germany. He was liberated from Dachau in 1945. Sponsored by a children's committee, he immigrated to the United States.

    Mayer Adler describes surviving as a child in Auschwitz
  • Mayer Adler describes his family's preparations for deportation

    Oral History

    Mayer grew up in a rural town that was occupied by Hungary in 1940. After Germany occupied Hungary in March 1944, Mayer and his family were forced into a ghetto. They were then deported to the Auschwitz camp in Poland, where Mayer's parents and brothers perished. Mayer was selected for forced labor, and was later transferred to a satellite camp of Dachau, in Germany. He was liberated from Dachau in 1945. Sponsored by a children's committee, he immigrated to the United States.

    Mayer Adler describes his family's preparations for deportation
  • Leopold Page describes meeting German industrialist Oskar Schindler

    Oral History

    Leopold was a teacher in Krakow, Poland, when World War II began in 1939. While serving in the Polish army, he was captured by Germans. Leopold escaped from a prisoner-of-war transport. Soon after, he met the German industrialist Oskar Schindler. The two became friends. Leopold was forced to live in the Krakow ghetto. He later worked in Schindler's factory in Bruennlitz. He and the other Jews who worked there were treated relatively well and protected from the Nazis. After the war, Leopold moved to the…

    Leopold Page describes meeting German industrialist Oskar Schindler
  • Irene Hizme describes medical experiments at Auschwitz

    Oral History

    Irene and Rene were born Renate and Rene Guttmann. The family moved to Prague shortly after the twins' birth, where they were living when the Germans occupied Bohemia and Moravia in March 1939. A few months later, uniformed Germans arrested their father. Decades later, Irene and Rene learned that he was killed at the Auschwitz camp in December 1941. Irene, Rene, and their mother were deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto, and later to the Auschwitz camp. At Auschwitz, the twins were separated and subjected…

    Irene Hizme describes medical experiments at Auschwitz
  • Rene Slotkin describes medical experiments at Auschwitz

    Oral History

    Rene and his twin sister Irene were born Rene and Renate Guttman. The family moved to Prague shortly after the twins' birth, where they were living when the Germans occupied Bohemia and Moravia in March 1939. A few months later, uniformed Germans arrested their father. Decades later, Rene and Irene learned that he was killed in the Auschwitz camp in December 1941. Rene, Irene, and their thier mother were deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto, and later to Auschwitz. There, the twins were separated and…

    Rene Slotkin describes medical experiments at Auschwitz
  • Leo Melamed describes going to school in prewar Bialystok

    Oral History

    Leo was seven years old when Germany invaded Poland in September 1939. Before the war, Leo's father was a mathematics teacher and member of the Bialystok City Council. Fearing arrest, Leo's father fled Bialystok for Vilna just before the German occupation. Leo and his mother eventually joined his father in Vilna. After the Soviets occupied Vilna, Leo's father obtained transit visas to Japan. The family left Vilna in December 1940, traveled across the Soviet Union on the Trans-Siberian Express, and arrived…

    Leo Melamed describes going to school in prewar Bialystok
  • Leo Melamed describes speaking several languages as a child in prewar Bialystok

    Oral History

    Leo was seven years old when Germany invaded Poland in September 1939. Before the war, Leo's father was a mathematics teacher and member of the Bialystok City Council. Fearing arrest, Leo's father fled Bialystok for Vilna just before the German occupation. Leo and his mother eventually joined his father in Vilna. After the Soviets occupied Vilna, Leo's father obtained transit visas to Japan. The family left Vilna in December 1940, traveled across the Soviet Union on the Trans-Siberian Express, and arrived…

    Leo Melamed describes speaking several languages as a child in prewar Bialystok
  • Leo Melamed describes the German occupation of Bialystok

    Oral History

    Leo was seven years old when Germany invaded Poland in September 1939. Before the war, Leo's father was a mathematics teacher and member of the Bialystok City Council. Fearing arrest, Leo's father fled Bialystok for Vilna just before the German occupation. Leo and his mother eventually joined his father in Vilna. After the Soviets occupied Vilna, Leo's father obtained transit visas to Japan. The family left Vilna in December 1940, traveled across the Soviet Union on the Trans-Siberian Express, and arrived…

    Leo Melamed describes the German occupation of Bialystok
  • Leo Melamed describes fear after German occupation of Bialystok

    Oral History

    Leo was seven years old when Germany invaded Poland in September 1939. Before the war, Leo's father was a mathematics teacher and member of the Bialystok City Council. Fearing arrest, Leo's father fled Bialystok for Vilna just before the German occupation. Leo and his mother eventually joined his father in Vilna. After the Soviets occupied Vilna, Leo's father obtained transit visas to Japan. The family left Vilna in December 1940, traveled across the Soviet Union on the Trans-Siberian Express, and arrived…

    Leo Melamed describes fear after German occupation of Bialystok
  • Leo Melamed describes fleeing by train from Bialystok to Vilna

    Oral History

    Leo was seven years old when Germany invaded Poland in September 1939. Before the war, Leo's father was a mathematics teacher and member of the Bialystok City Council. Fearing arrest, Leo's father fled Bialystok for Vilna just before the German occupation. Leo and his mother eventually joined his father in Vilna. After the Soviets occupied Vilna, Leo's father obtained transit visas to Japan. The family left Vilna in December 1940, traveled across the Soviet Union on the Trans-Siberian Express, and arrived…

    Leo Melamed describes fleeing by train from Bialystok to Vilna
  • Fritzie Weiss Fritzshall describes the selection process in Auschwitz

    Oral History

    Fritzie's father immigrated to the United States, but by the time he could bring his family over, war had begun and Fritzie's mother feared attacks on transatlantic shipping. Fritzie, her mother, and two brothers were eventually sent to Auschwitz. Her mother and brothers died. Fritzie survived by pretending to be older than her age and thus a stronger worker. On a death march from Auschwitz, Fritzie ran into a forest, where she was later liberated.

    Fritzie Weiss Fritzshall describes the selection process in Auschwitz
  • Blanka Rothschild describes arrival at the Ravensbrück camp

    Oral History

    Blanka was an only child in a close-knit family in Lodz, Poland. Her father died in 1937. After the German invasion of Poland, Blanka and her mother remained in Lodz with Blanka's grandmother, who was unable to travel. Along with other relatives, they were forced into the Lodz ghetto in 1940. There, Blanka worked in a bakery. She and her mother later worked in a hospital in the Lodz ghetto, where they remained until late 1944 when they were deported to the Ravensbrueck camp in Germany. From Ravensbrueck,…

    Blanka Rothschild describes arrival at the Ravensbrück camp
  • Ruth Moser Borsos describes forced-labor assignments in Westerbork

    Oral History

    Ruth moved to the Netherlands after Kristallnacht (the "Night of Broken Glass") in 1938. She and her father had permits to sail to the United States, but Germany invaded the Netherlands in May 1940 and they could not leave. Ruth was deported to the Westerbork camp in 1943 and to the Bergen-Belsen camp in Germany in 1944. After an exchange agreement with the Allies broke down, Ruth was interned near the Swiss border until liberation by French forces in 1945.

    Ruth Moser Borsos describes forced-labor assignments in Westerbork
  • Madeline Deutsch describes the sacrifices her mother made to help her survive

    Oral History

    Madeline was born into a middle class family in an area of Czechoslovakia that was annexed by Hungary in 1938-1939. Her father worked out of their home and her mother was a homemaker. Madeline attended high school. In April 1944 her family was forced into a Hungarian ghetto. The family lived in the ghetto for two weeks before being transported to Auschwitz. Madeline and her mother were separated from her father and older brother. Neither her father nor brother survived the war. A week after arriving in…

    Tags: children women
    Madeline Deutsch describes the sacrifices her mother made to help her survive
  • Joseph Stanley Wardzala describes forced labor in Hannover

    Oral History

    Joseph and his family were Roman Catholics. After Germany invaded Poland in 1939, roundups of Poles for forced labor in Germany began. Joseph escaped arrest twice but the third time, in 1941, he was deported to a forced-labor camp in Hannover, Germany. For over four years he was forced to work on the construction of concrete air raid shelters. Upon liberation by US forces in 1945, the forced-labor camp was transformed into a displaced persons camp. Joseph stayed there until he got a visa to enter the…

    Tags: forced labor
    Joseph Stanley Wardzala describes forced labor in Hannover
  • Joseph Stanley Wardzala describes the badge Poles had to wear in forced-labor camps in Germany

    Oral History

    Joseph and his family were Roman Catholics. After Germany invaded Poland in 1939, roundups of Poles for forced labor in Germany began. Joseph escaped arrest twice but the third time, in 1941, he was deported to a forced-labor camp in Hannover, Germany. For over four years he was forced to work on the construction of concrete air raid shelters. Upon liberation by US forces in 1945, the forced-labor camp was transformed into a displaced persons camp. Joseph stayed there until he got a visa to enter the…

    Tags: badges Poland
    Joseph Stanley Wardzala describes the badge Poles had to wear in forced-labor camps in Germany
  • Joseph Stanley Wardzala describes conditions at the forced-labor camp in Hannover

    Oral History

    Joseph and his family were Roman Catholics. After Germany invaded Poland in 1939, roundups of Poles for forced labor in Germany began. Joseph escaped arrest twice but the third time, in 1941, he was deported to a forced-labor camp in Hannover, Germany. For over four years he was forced to work on the construction of concrete air raid shelters. Upon liberation by US forces in 1945, the forced-labor camp was transformed into a displaced persons camp. Joseph stayed there until he got a visa to enter the…

    Tags: forced labor
    Joseph Stanley Wardzala describes conditions at the forced-labor camp in Hannover
  • Morris Kornberg describes forced labor beginning after the German invasion of Poland

    Oral History

    Morris grew up in a very religious Jewish household and was active in a Zionist sports league. When the Germans invaded Poland in September 1939, Morris's town was severely damaged. Morris's family was forced to live in a ghetto, and Morris was assigned to forced labor. After a period of imprisonment in Konskie, a town about 30 miles from Przedborz, Morris was deported to the Auschwitz camp. He was assigned to the Jawischowitz subcamp of Auschwitz. In January 1945, Morris was forced on a death march and…

    Morris Kornberg describes forced labor beginning after the German invasion of Poland
  • Colonel Richard R. Seibel describes aid given to survivors after liberation in Mauthausen and their plans for emigration

    Oral History

    In June 1941, Richard was ordered to active duty in the US Army. After a period of training, he was sent to Europe. He entered Austria in April 1945. A patrol came upon the Mauthausen camp and Richard was appointed to take command of the camp. He organized those inmates who had survived in the camp until liberation in May 1945, and brought in two field hospitals. After 35 days in Mauthausen, he was transferred to a post in the Austrian Alps.

    Colonel Richard R. Seibel describes aid given to survivors after liberation in Mauthausen and their plans for emigration
  • Ruth Meyerowitz describes deportation to and conditions in Ravensbrück

    Oral History

    In Frankfurt, Ruth's family faced intensifying anti-Jewish measures; her father's business was taken over and Ruth's Jewish school was closed. In April 1943, Ruth and her family were deported to Auschwitz. Ruth was forced to work on road repairs. She also worked in the "Kanada" unit, sorting possessions brought into the camp. In November 1944, Ruth was transferred to the Ravensbrueck camp system, in Germany. She was liberated in May 1945, during a death march from the Malchow camp.

    Ruth Meyerowitz describes deportation to and conditions in Ravensbrück
  • Blanka Rothschild describes conditions in the Ravensbrück camp

    Oral History

    Blanka was an only child in a close-knit family in Lodz, Poland. Her father died in 1937. After the German invasion of Poland, Blanka and her mother remained in Lodz with Blanka's grandmother, who was unable to travel. Along with other relatives, they were forced into the Lodz ghetto in 1940. There, Blanka worked in a bakery. She and her mother later worked in a hospital in the Lodz ghetto, where they remained until late 1944 when they were deported to the Ravensbrueck camp in Germany. From Ravensbrueck,…

    Blanka Rothschild describes conditions in the Ravensbrück camp
  • Leo Bretholz describes arrival at the Drancy camp

    Oral History

    After the Germans annexed Austria in 1938, Leo attempted to flee. He eventually reached Belgium. In 1940 he was deported to the St.-Cyprien camp in France but escaped. In 1942 Leo was smuggled into Switzerland but was arrested and sent back to France, this time to the Rivesaltes and Drancy camps. He and a friend escaped from a train deporting them to Auschwitz in Poland. Leo joined the French underground in 1943. He arrived in the United States in 1947.

    Tags: camps Drancy
    Leo Bretholz describes arrival at the Drancy camp
  • Leo Bretholz describes conditions in the Drancy camp

    Oral History

    After the Germans annexed Austria in 1938, Leo attempted to flee. He eventually reached Belgium. In 1940 he was deported to the St.-Cyprien camp in France but escaped. In 1942 Leo was smuggled into Switzerland but was arrested and sent back to France, this time to the Rivesaltes and Drancy camps. He and a friend escaped from a train deporting them to Auschwitz in Poland. Leo joined the French underground in 1943. He arrived in the United States in 1947.

    Tags: camps Drancy
    Leo Bretholz describes conditions in the Drancy camp
  • Bella Jakubowicz Tovey describes conditions in Bergen-Belsen

    Oral History

    Bella was the oldest of four children born to a Jewish family in Sosnowiec. Her father owned a knitting factory. After the Germans invaded Poland in 1939, they took over the factory. The family's furniture was given to a German woman. Bella was forced to work in a factory in the Sosnowiec ghetto in 1941. At the end of 1942 the family was deported to the Bedzin ghetto. Bella was deported to the Graeben subcamp of Gross-Rosen in 1943 and to Bergen-Belsen in 1944. She was liberated in April 1945, and…

    Bella Jakubowicz Tovey describes conditions in Bergen-Belsen
  • Leopold Page describes an act of sabotage and clandestinely listening to radio broadcasts while in Bruennlitz

    Oral History

    Leopold was a teacher in Krakow, Poland, when World War II began in 1939. While serving in the Polish army, he was captured by Germans. Leopold escaped from a prisoner-of-war transport. Soon after, he met the German industrialist Oskar Schindler. The two became friends. Leopold was forced to live in the Krakow ghetto. He later worked in Schindler's factory in Bruennlitz. He and the other Jews who worked there were treated relatively well and protected from the Nazis. After the war, Leopold moved to the…

    Leopold Page describes an act of sabotage and clandestinely listening to radio broadcasts while in Bruennlitz
  • Ernest G. Heppner describes learning about the Holocaust and the fate of his relatives

    Oral History

    Ernest's family owned a factory that made matzah, the unleavened bread eaten during Passover. In February 1939, three months after Kristallnacht (the "Night of Broken Glass" pogroms), Ernest and his mother fled to Shanghai, one of few havens for refugees without visas. His father and sister stayed behind in Germany; they perished during the Holocaust. A brother escaped to England. Ernest and his mother found work in Shanghai. In 1947, he came to the United States with his wife, whom he met and married in…

    Ernest G. Heppner describes learning about the Holocaust and the fate of his relatives
  • Nesse Galperin Godin describes how she met her husband after the war

    Oral History

    Nesse's family had a dairy business. The Germans occupied Lithuania in 1941 and established a ghetto in Siauliai. Nesse lived in the ghetto until 1943 when she was old enough to work. In 1944 Nesse, her mother, and a brother were deported to the Stutthof camp near Danzig. Nesse worked in several Stutthof subcamps until January 1945, when the inmates were put on a death march. She was liberated by the Soviets in March. Nesse, her mother, and two brothers survived, and she arrived in the United States in…

    Tags: postwar women
    Nesse Galperin Godin describes how she met her husband after the war
  • Ruth Moser Borsos describes the process of selection for deportations from Westerbork to Auschwitz

    Oral History

    Ruth moved to the Netherlands after Kristallnacht (the "Night of Broken Glass") in 1938. She and her father had permits to sail to the United States, but Germany invaded the Netherlands in May 1940 and they could not leave. Ruth was deported to the Westerbork camp in 1943 and to the Bergen-Belsen camp in Germany in 1944. After an exchange agreement with the Allies broke down, Ruth was interned near the Swiss border until liberation by French forces in 1945.

    Ruth Moser Borsos describes the process of selection for deportations from Westerbork to Auschwitz
  • Moses Zupnik describes facilities for the Mir Yeshiva in Shanghai

    Oral History

    Moses was 16 years old when the Nazis came to power in January 1933. He attended the Mir Yeshiva, a Jewish religious school based in Mir, Poland. German forces invaded Poland in September 1939. The Soviet Union occupied eastern Poland less than three weeks later. Mir was in Soviet-occupied Poland. Moses and the entire Mir Yeshiva moved to Vilna, Lithuania, so they could continue their studies without Soviet interference. When the Soviet Union occupied Lithuania in 1940, leaders of the yeshiva decided they…

    Tags: Shanghai Mir
    Moses Zupnik describes facilities for the Mir Yeshiva in Shanghai
  • Drexel Sprecher describes war-damaged Nuremberg

    Oral History

    Drexel Sprecher was educated at the University of Wisconsin, the London School of Economics, and at the Harvard School of Law before receiving a position at the US Government's Labor Board in 1938. He enlisted in the American military after the United States declared war on Germany, and was posted to London. After the war, Sprecher served as a prosecutor of Nazi war criminals at the Nuremberg trials.

    Drexel Sprecher describes war-damaged Nuremberg

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