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Joseph W. Holocaust testimony (HVT-2852) interviewed by Claudine Drame and Berthe Burko-Falcman

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-2852

Videotape testimony of Joseph W., who was born in Łódź, Poland in 1929, one of four children. He describes his orthodox family; living in his grandfather's home in Konstantynów until age five; attending cheder; German invasion; ghettoization; his father's death in 1940; smuggling food from outside the ghetto with his younger brother; hiding his youngest brother during round-ups; giving him up when all children were collected; his mother's death in 1943; several jobs in ghetto factories; friendship with Jankele Herszkowicz, a popular ghetto singer, who raised spirits with his songs; his brother's and sister's deportation; deportation to Auschwitz/Birkenau in summer 1944; a prisoner suggesting he register his age older than fifteen; a friend choosing to go to the gas chambers with a younger brother so he would not die alone, a memory that haunts him to this day; forming a group of friends that assisted each other; hiding during selections; assignment guarding clandestine goods in Canada Kommando; transfer to Braunschweig; slave labor in a tobacco factory; trading smuggled tobacco for extra food that he shared with his group; a death march to Ravensbrück in April 1945; receiving Red Cross packages; transfer to Wöbbelin; cannibalism; liberation by United States troops in May 1945; emigration to Paris; emigration to Israel to fight in the 1948 War of Independence; and returning to Paris. Mr. W. discusses prisoner hierarchy and group relations in camps, and sings ghetto and concentration camp songs.

Author/Creator
W., Joseph, 1929-
Published
Paris, France : Témoignages pour mémoire, 1994
Interview Date
March 17, 1994.
Language
French
Copies
2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Joseph W. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-2852). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.