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Henry B., Sophie B., and Millie K., Holocaust testimony (HVT-330) interviewed by Zev Harel,

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-330

Videotape testimony of Henry and Sophie B. and their daughter Millie K.. Mr. B. was born in Łódź, Poland in 1910. He recalls his mixed neighborhood; cordial relations with non-Jews; marriage in 1937; Millie's birth in 1938; German invasion in September 1939; fleeing with his brother to Soviet-occupied Vilnius, then Šiauliai; German invasion in 1941; exemption from ghettoization due to his job; receiving Ukrainian papers and a travel permit for him and his brother from his wife; reunion with his wife and daughter in Bochnia; moving to Kraków; obtaining a privileged position in communications; observing daily transports of Jews to Auschwitz; hiding his brother; attending church; passing himself off as an "Aryan" and receiving papers; realizing a fellow-worker was a Jew, but not revealing it until after the war; liberation in January 1945; leaving for Germany in 1946; returning for his wife and daughter; their escape with assistance from Beriḥah; living in Stuttgart; revealing to Millie that she was Jewish; emigration to the United States in 1948; establishing a successful business; and a trip to Poland with his wife, daughter, and her children. He discusses identity issues and his commitment to Jewish organizations and general education.

Sophie B., recounts her family-centered childhood; her sister's marriage to a non-Jew; her own marriage in 1937; a difficult pregnancy; her husband's departure east in November 1939; a relative of her brother-in-law assisting her to escape to Warsaw with Millie; living as a non-Jew; bringing her parents food in the Łódź ghetto in May 1940 (she never saw them again); obtaining a birth certificate from a priest (he did not know she was Jewish); smuggling food into the Warsaw ghetto; joining her sister and her family in Bochnia where they had established themselves as Christians; moving to Kraków to work in the post office; traveling to Simeïz to obtain Christian papers and a travel permit for her husband and brother-in-law; sending the papers to them; her husband's return in February 1942; their relative affluence; retrieving her sister's child with help from a non-Jew; having Millie baptized; liberation; her sister's return from Auschwitz to retrieve her daughter; fleeing to Germany with Millie and her husband; living in Stuttgart; enrollment in an ORT school; and assistance from HIAS emigrating to the United States.

Millie K. recounts thinking that during the war air raids were fun; devastation and confusion at learning she was Jewish; trying to hide her Jewish identity since she thought Jews were universally hated; difficulties adjusting in the United States; continuing to tell others she was once Catholic; increasing comfort as she learned English; and developing flexibility, optimism, and a sense of humor from her experiences.

B., Henry, 1910-
Cleveland, Ohio : National Council of Jewish Women, Holocaust Archive Project, 1984
Interview Date
July 19, 1984.
Łódź (Poland)
Kraków (Poland)
Vilnius (Lithuania)
Šiauliai (Lithuania)
Warsaw (Poland)
Bochnia (Poland)
Simeïz (Ukraine)
Stuttgart (Germany)
2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Henry B., Sophie B., and Millie K. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-330). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
View in Yale University Library Catalog:
Record last modified: 2018-05-30 11:44:00
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