Herbert F. Holocaust testimony (HVT-4481) interviewed by Lawrence L. Langer and Joanne Weiner Rudof
- New Haven, Conn. : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 2015
- Interview Date
- June 10, 2015.
- 3 copies: DVCam Master; Betacam SP submaster; and DVD.
- Cite As
- Herbert F. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-4481). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
Videotape testimony of Herbert F., who was born in Vienna, Austria in 1929, an only child. He recalls attending public school; antisemtic harassment; German occupation in March 1938; expulsion from school; observing violence against Jews; traveling with his parents and uncle to Cologne, Aachen, then Breda; being smuggled to Belgium; attending school in Antwerp; German invasion on May 10, 1940; his father's arrest; traveling with his mother and uncle to Toulouse; his uncle's arrest (he escaped and went to the United States); his mother placing him with a Jewish farmer in Fontenilles; his father joining him in July (he had been in Gurs); their visit to his mother in Toulouse in November; her return to Antwerp; moving with the farmer to Pujaudran; his bar mitzvah; arrest in August 1942; deportation to Drancy, then Cosel; all men from sixteen to fifty being removed from the train; joining them to be with his father; his father's selection to remain and his to return to the train; not obeying; a German advising him to say he was sixteen and rejoin his father; slave labor in Tarnowitz constructing railroads; and a German engineer protecting him from beatings and arducous work.
Mr. F. recalls transfer in May 1943 to Sosnowiec, then to Auschwitz/Birkenau in November; prisoners killing a cruel kapo in the next bunk his first night; meaningless slave labor; transfer three weeks later to Warsaw; clearing the destroyed ghetto; trading his father's gold tooth and other found “valuables” to Polish civilians for food; a typhus epidemic; he and his father recovering; his assignment bringing corpses to be burned, including those of executed Polish civilians; public hangings; a death march, then train transport to Dachau in August 1944; separation from his father; transfer to Allach; slave labor in a BMW factory; his father's arrival in September; sharing extra food with him; train transport in April 1945; abandonment by the guards; liberation by United States troops; traveling to Antwerp from Strasbourg with his father; learning his mother had been deported and did not survive; joining his uncle in the United States in December 1943; working and completing high school; and marriage in 1952. Mr. F. discusses the importance of being with his father and “unusual circumstances” (he does not believe in luck) to his survival; his focus on obtaining extra food even at risk of life; postwar research to document dates of his experiences; returning to Vienna at Austrian invitation six years ago; and pervasive painful memories.