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Erna R. Holocaust testimony (HVT-1381) interviewed by Evelyn Umlas and Ellen Fishman,

Oral History | Digitized | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-1381

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    Videotape testimony of Erna R., who was born in Żywiec, Poland in 1922. She recalls being one of two Jewish families; attending high school in Kraków; anti-Semitic incidents; German invasion; forced labor; ghettoization; hunger, deportations, and mass killings; the demoralizing effect of family separations; liquidation of the ghetto in 1943; her family's transfer to Płaszów; working in the Madritsch factory; truck transport of all children out of Płaszów, including her eleven year old brother (they were all killed); her father's and mother's deportations; frequent hangings and shootings; and transport to Auschwitz in September 1944. Mrs. R. describes the dehumanizing reception procedures; strategies for remaining with her sisters; transfer to Gundelsdorf in January 1945; help from an SS guard; transfer to Zwodau; resisting unwanted homosexual advances; a death march; escaping with help from a local woman; and liberation by American troops, whose chaplain, Rabbi Eugene Lipman, became a friend. She recounts working as an interpreter for the United Nations; marrying a man whose mother she knew in Płaszów; and writing a book about her experience. She reflects on her belief in the importance of prayer and miracles and the sisters staying together, and she reads her poem about survival.
    R., Erna, 1922-
    Peabody, Mass. : Holocaust Center of the Jewish Federation of the North Shore, 1989
    Interview Date
    September 25, 1989.
    Żywiec (Poland)
    Kraków (Poland)
    Cite As
    Erna R. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-1381). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
    Other Authors/Editors
    Umlas, Evelyn, interviewer.
    Fishman, Ellen, interviewer.
    The Survivor in us all ; a memoir of the Holocaust / Erna F. Rubinstein. -- Hamden, Conn. : Archon Books, 1983.

    Physical Details

    2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
    Physical Description
    1 videorecording (1 hr., 49 min.) : col

    Keywords & Subjects

    Subjects (Local Yale)
    Antisemitism Prewar.
    Mutual aid.
    Aid by non-Jews.
    Postwar experiences.

    Administrative Notes

    Link to Yale University Library Catalog:
    Record last modified:
    2018-06-04 13:28:00
    This page:

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