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Charles V. Holocaust testimony (HVT-1981) interviewed by Yannis Thanassekos and Rina Margos and Jean-Michel Chaumont

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-1981

Videotape testimony of Charles V., who was born in Brussels, Belgium in 1913. He recalls feeling Belgian rather than Jewish; military service beginning in 1937; German invasion; capture; one year imprisonment as a Belgian POW; returning home; anti-Jewish restrictions; obtaining false papers; forced closing of the family business; hiding with his parents and sister; denunciation as a Jew in June 1944; imprisonment; transfer to Malines, then Auschwitz (his family remained hidden); slave labor; fierce struggles for food; his sense of complete isolation; willing himself to forget his past and family; a Belgian nurse saving his life; public executions; learning to play french horn in order to be in the orchestra for extra food and protection; playing eighteen hours daily; Romanies in the orchestra being killed when the Zigeunerlager (Gypsy Lager) was liquidated; the death march to Gross-Rosen, Buchenwald, and Ravensburg beginning in January 1945; disappearance of guards; assistance from French POWs; return to Brussels; and reunion with his family. Mr. V. discusses camp life, including intergroup relations; relief he was alone so he did not have to see relatives suffer; the pervasive presence of corpses in Gross-Rosen; refusal to eat mutton (it reminds him of the odor of Auschwitz); and many relatives killed during the Holocaust.

Author/Creator
V., Charles, 1913-
Published
Brussels, Belgium : Fondation Auschwitz, 1992
Interview Date
May 13, 1992.
Language
French
Copies
2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Charles V. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-1981). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.