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Nisan R. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3193) interviewed by Yoram Amit and Maia Pasalski

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3193

Videotape testimony of Nisan R., who was born in Katerynoslav, Ukraine (presently Dnipropetrovsʹk) in 1918, the youngest of seven children. He recounts his family's orthodoxy; moving to Davyd-Haradok, then Pinsk; attending religious school, then Polish gymnasium; a Hasidic rabbi officiating at his bar mitzvah; participating in a Zionist youth group; Soviet occupation; traveling with his youth group to Vilnius; assistance from the Joint and Hadassah; establishing a training farm; trying to establish routes for emigration to Palestine; Soviet invasion; his mother's visit; German invasion; ghettoization; cleaning German offices; “stealing” permits to distribute to Zionists and forge false papers; marriage; representing No'ar ha-Tsiyoni in the formation of a united resistance organization (FPO) of all the Zionist groups; obtaining weapons for the FPO with approval from Jacob Gens, head of the Judenrat; assistance from non-Jews, including a German officer, Anton Schmidt; Yiżḣak Wittenberg's surrender; armed resistance when the liquidation of the ghetto was imminent; a joint decision to organize escapes to join partisans; his escape with his wife to the Naroch forest; blowing up trains; killing collaborators and Germans (his form of revenge); antisemitic violence by non-Jewish partisans; and liberation by Soviet troops.
Mr. R. recalls returning to Vilnius; traveling to Pinsk, then Rivne; learning his entire family had been murdered; participating in the organization of illegal emigration to Palestine; returning to Vilnius; fleeing from the NKVD to Lida; organizing refugees in Lublin, Kraków, Warsaw, and Humenné; traveling to Bucharest, then to Treviso via Budapest and Austria, with assistance from the Jewish Brigade; organizing kibbutzim; assistance from the Joint; participating in a Zionist conference in Paris in 1946, where he met Abba Hillel Silver; his daughter's birth in Rome; illegal emigration to Palestine in 1947; fighting in the Israeli independence war; capture by Egyptian troops; imprisonment in Gaza; mistreatment by Egyptian guards; release six months later; his second daughter's birth; representing Israel in Argentina from 1951-1953; leaving their kibbutz to continue his education; and his wife's death. Mr. R. discusses many of the leaders of the FPO and partisans; his relationships with them; relationships among a variety of organizations including Nekamah and Voroshilov; his criticism of Yitzhak Zuckerman's book about Jewish resistance; visiting Vilnius in the 1980s; and not sharing his experiences with his children.

Author/Creator
R., Nisan, 1918-
Published
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1990
Interview Date
December 11, 1990.
Language
Hebrew
Copies
2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
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View in Yale University Library Catalog: http://hdl.handle.net/10079/bibid/4290981
Record last modified: 2016-08-11 10:14:00
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/hvt4290981