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Helena M. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3170) interviewed by Barbara Engelking-Boni,

Oral History | Digitized | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3170

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    Videotape testimony of Helena M., who was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1911, the fifth of six children. Ms. M. recalls her large extended and assimilated family's affluence; her father and one brother dying; one sister's emigration to the United States; studying psychology; working in a children's clinic with Adolf Berman; German invasion; ghettoization; working for CENTOS, an agency for orphans, which received funding from the Joint; contacts with Adam Czerniaków; working with Janusz Korczak, Stefania Wilczyńska, and other staff at Korczak's orphanage; deportations beginning in June 1942; observing Korczak accompanying his orphans for deportation; forced labor in a brush factory; providing information to Emanuel Ringelblum for the ghetto archives; meeting Mordecai Anielewicz; escaping with her mother, sister, brother, and his family in March 1943; working for the underground; living under false papers; meetings with Adolf Berman and others in the underground; avoiding exposure with assistance from Joseph Ziemian; assisting other Jews in hiding; moving to Piastów; traveling to Grodzisko as a courier to Yitzhak Zuckerman and Marek Edelman; her mother's death during the 1944 Warsaw Uprising; traveling to Zalesie to join her sister; and providing assistance to hidden Jews in Piastów. Ms. M. provides many details of life in the ghetto and hiding. She discusses Korczak's work and charisma; the loss of most of her family; wanting to survive to "spit on a German," which she did not do when she could have; attributing her survival to luck and having blue eyes; creating an archive in Warsaw for Jewish survivors; and working in children's radio programming.
    M., Helena, 1911-
    Warsaw, Poland : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1994
    Interview Date
    July 13, 1994.
    Warsaw (Poland)
    Piastów (Pruszków, Województwo Mazowieckie, Poland)
    Grodzisko (Poland)
    Zalesie (Poland)
    Cite As
    Helena M. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3170). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
    Other Authors/Editors
    Engelking, Barbara, interviewer.
    This testimony is in Polish.

    Physical Details

    2 copies: Betacam SP master; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
    Physical Description
    1 videorecording (2 hr., 16 min.) : col

    Keywords & Subjects

    Subjects (Local Yale)
    Aid by non-Jews.
    False papers.
    Mutual aid.
    Postwar experiences.
    Holocaust survivors. Video tapes. Women. Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Personal narratives. World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, Jewish. Forced labor. World War, 1939-1945--Underground movements--Poland. World War, 1939-1945--Jewish resistance. Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Psychological aspects. Jewish ghettos. Jews--Poland--Warsaw. Families. Orphanages--Poland. Escapes. Poland. Warsaw (Poland) Piastów (Pruszków, Województwo Mazowieckie, Poland) Grodzisko (Poland) Zalesie (Poland) Warsaw (Poland)--History--Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, 1943. Warsaw (Poland)--History--Uprising, 1944. Oral histories (document genres) M., Helena,--1911- Anielewicz, Mordecai,--1919-1943. Berman, Adolf Abraham,--1906- Edelman, Marek,--1919-2009. Korczak, Janusz,--1878-1942. Ringelblum, Emanuel,--1900-1944. Wilczyńska, Stefania,--1886-1942. Czerniaków, Adam,--1880-1942. Ziemian, Joseph. Zuckerman, Yitzhak,--1915-1981. American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.

    Administrative Notes

    Link to Yale University Library Catalog:
    Record last modified:
    2018-05-29 11:47:00
    This page:

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