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Jan R. Holocaust testimony (HVT-2472) interviewed by Elaine Shepp and Lee Blum,

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-2472

Videotape testimony of Jan R., who was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1924. He recalls his family's strong Czech, rather than Jewish, identity; German occupation in 1939; anti-Jewish laws; deportation to Theresienstadt in May 1942; forced labor in the fields, then in a laboratory; surgery; the Jewish leadership's decision to provide more resources for young people; lectures and concerts; sham improvements during a Red Cross visit; an encounter with Rabbi Benjamin Murmelstein; meeting his future wife; deportation to Auschwitz in September 1944 (he never saw his parents and sister again); a kapo hitting a boy to compel him to say he was older, thus helping the boy survive; difficulty believing what he was experiencing; transfer to forced labor in Meuselwitz; train evacuation to Kraslice; disappearance of the guards during a death march in May 1945; and recovering in a hospital in Zatec. Mr. R. describes returning to Prague; marriage in 1947; becoming an academic; the births of his sons in 1954 and 1956; their escape to Denmark; and emigration to the United States. He reflects upon the importance of judging individuals, not groups, and the danger of absolute power. He shows family photographs.

R., Jan, 1924-
Wilmette, Ill. : Holocaust Education Foundation, 1994
Interview Date
April 24, 1994.
Prague (Czech Republic)
Kraslice (Czech Republic)
Zatec (Czech Republic)
2 copies: 3/4 in. master; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Jan R. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-2472). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
View in Yale University Library Catalog:
Record last modified: 2018-05-30 11:40:00
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