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Herbert F. Holocaust testimony (HVT-4481) interviewed by Lawrence L. Langer and Joanne Weiner Rudof,

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-4481

Videotape testimony of Herbert F., who was born in Vienna, Austria in 1929, an only child. He recalls attending public school; antisemitic 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 aged 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 arduous 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.

Author/Creator
F., Herbert, 1929-
Published
New Haven, Conn. : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 2015
Interview Date
June 10, 2015.
Locale
Austria
Vienna (Austria)
Cologne (Germany)
Aachen (Germany)
Breda (Netherlands)
Antwerp (Belgium)
Toulouse (France)
Fontenilles (France)
Pujaudran (France)
Language
English
Copies
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.
 
View in Yale University Library Catalog: http://hdl.handle.net/10079/bibid/12525175
Record last modified: 2018-05-29 11:53:00
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/hvt12525175