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  • Wilek (William) Loew describes the hiding place in which his mother survived an Aktion in Lvov

    Oral History

    Wilek was the son of Jewish parents living in the southeastern Polish town of Lvov. His family owned and operated a winery that had been in family hands since 1870. Wilek's father died of a heart attack in 1929. Wilek entered secondary school in 1939. Soon after he began school, World War II began with the German invasion of Poland. Lvov was in the part of eastern Poland annexed by the Soviet Union. Although the Soviets took over Wilek's home and the family business, Wilek was able to continue his…

    Tags: hiding Lvov
    Wilek (William) Loew describes the hiding place in which his mother survived an Aktion in Lvov
  • Benjamin (Beryl) Ferencz describes evidence collected at the Mauthausen camp

    Oral History

    Ben was born in a small village in the Carpathian Mountains of Transylvania in Romania. When he was an infant, his family moved to the United States. Ben attended Harvard University, where he studied criminal law. Ben graduated from Harvard University Law School in 1943. He joined a US anti-aircraft artillery battalion that was training in preparation for an Allied invasion of western Europe. At the end of World War II in Europe, Ben was transferred to the war crimes investigation branch of the US Army. He…

    Benjamin (Beryl) Ferencz describes evidence collected at the Mauthausen camp
  • Walter Meyer describes activities of members of the Edelweiss Pirates in Duesseldorf, Germany

    Oral History

    Walter was born in Kassel, north central Germany, but grew up in the Rhineland. As a youth, Walter questioned the German superiority and antisemitism he was taught. His father, an anti-Nazi, refused to allow Walter to enter one of the Adolf Hitler Schools, but did permit him to join the Hitler Youth. However, Walter's rebellious streak led him to hide a Jewish friend in his basement. He also formed a gang that played pranks on young Nazis and helped French prisoners of war. They called themselves Edelweiss…

    Tags: youth
    Walter Meyer describes activities of members of the Edelweiss Pirates in Duesseldorf, Germany
  • Max Karl Liebmann describes arrival at and conditions in the Gurs camp

    Oral History

    Because he was Jewish, Max could not join the army when World War II began. Instead, he had to perform labor service. In October 1940, Max and his mother were deported to the Gurs camp in France. In Gurs, Max met his future wife, Hanne. In 1941, with the help of the Children's Aid Society (Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants; OSE), Hanne left the camp. Max followed in July 1942. He escaped to Switzerland through the French Alps and was in internment and refugee camps throughout the war. Hanne reached Switzerland…

    Tags: Gurs France
    Max Karl Liebmann describes arrival at and conditions in the Gurs camp
  • Barbara Marton Farkas describes deportation from Hungary to Auschwitz

    Oral History

    Barbara was born in the province of Arad in northern Transylvania, Romania. She went to school until the Hungarian army occupied the area in 1940 and she was no longer allowed to attend. After the Germans occupied Hungary in 1944, discrimination against Jews intensified. Barbara and her family were forced into the Oradea ghetto. She worked in the ghetto hospital until she was deported to the Auschwitz camp. At Auschwitz, she worked in the kitchens to receive extra food. She was deported to another camp,…

    Barbara Marton Farkas describes deportation from Hungary to Auschwitz
  • Charlene Schiff describes being caught while trying to smuggle food into the Horochow ghetto

    Oral History

    Both of Charlene's parents were local Jewish community leaders, and the family was active in community life. Charlene's father was a professor of philosophy at the State University of Lvov. World War II began with the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939. Charlene's town was in the part of eastern Poland occupied by the Soviet Union under the German-Soviet Pact of August 1939. Under the Soviet occupation, the family remained in its home and Charlene's father continued to teach. The Germans…

    Tags: ghettos
    Charlene Schiff describes being caught while trying to smuggle food into the Horochow ghetto
  • Charlene Schiff describes her liberation by Soviet troops

    Oral History

    Both of Charlene's parents were local Jewish community leaders, and the family was active in community life. Charlene's father was a professor of philosophy at the State University of Lvov. World War II began with the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939. Charlene's town was in the part of eastern Poland occupied by the Soviet Union under the German-Soviet Pact of August 1939. Under the Soviet occupation, the family remained in its home and Charlene's father continued to teach. The Germans…

    Charlene Schiff describes her liberation by Soviet troops
  • Herbert A. Friedman describes finding two child survivors after liberation

    Oral History

    Herbert graduated from Yale in 1938. He became a rabbi and worked very closely with American Jewish leader Stephen S. Wise. He became a chaplain in the US Army during World War II. In the spring of 1945, he went to Europe. When the war ended, he was recruited by David Ben-Gurion into the Aliyah Bet ("illegal" immigration) operation of the Hagana. This involved smuggling Jews from eastern Europe through Germany to Palestine. He worked with displaced persons, mainly in Berlin and the American zone of…

    Herbert A. Friedman describes finding two child survivors after liberation
  • Susan Bluman describes obtaining a transit visa from Chiune Sugihara

    Oral History

    Susan was 19 years old when Germany invaded Poland in September 1939. Her boyfriend, Nathan, was in Lvov when the Soviet Union occupied eastern Poland. Nathan sent a guide to Warsaw to bring Susan to the Soviet zone of occupied Poland. Her parents reluctantly agreed after Susan promised to return to Warsaw within two weeks. Upon her arrival in Lvov, Susan married Nathan. The couple then fled across the Lithuanian border to Vilna, where they stayed for a year. They received a visa for transit through Japan…

    Susan Bluman describes obtaining a transit visa from Chiune Sugihara
  • Aron (Dereczynski) Derman describes deportations from the Grodno ghetto in November 1942

    Oral History

    Aron was born to a middle-class Jewish family in Slonim, a part of Poland between the two world wars. His parents owned a clothing store. After studying in a technical school, Aron worked as a motion-picture projectionist in a small town near Slonim. The Soviet army took over Slonim in September 1939. War broke out between Germany and the Soviet Union in June 1941. Aron returned to Slonim. The Germans soon occupied Slonim, and later forced the Jews into a ghetto. Aron was forced to work in an armaments…

    Aron (Dereczynski) Derman describes deportations from the Grodno ghetto in November 1942

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