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Victor B. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3207) interviewed by Josette Zarka and Michèle Ganem

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3207

Videotape testimony of Victor B., who was born in Rēzekne, Russia (presently Latvia) in 1915. He describes his assimilated family; his and his older brother's communist militancy; his secular “bar mitzvah”; arrest in 1936 for political activities; eight months imprisonment in Rīga; illegally traveling to Paris using false papers; completing law school; enlisting in the Foreign Legion in September 1939; being stationed in Le Barcares in 1940; attending officer training school; demobilization in Aix-en-Provence; living there, then in Marseille; forming a business as a front for Resistance activities; arrest in early 1944; two months imprisonment in Marseille; transfer to Drancy, Auschwitz/Birkenau, then a day later to Jawischowitz; slave labor in coal mines; receiving extra food from Polish civilian workers; a death march and train transfer to Buchenwald in January 1945; slave labor digging tunnels; another death march; liberation by French troops; hospitalization; and repatriation to Marseille. Mr. B. discusses arrival at Auschwitz/Birkenau as falling into another world that cannot be described; the camp hierarchy; focusing on food to the exclusion of all else; his priority to just survive one more day; feeling his experiences happened to someone else; his brother's “disappearance” during Soviet purges in the mid-1930s; a last letter from his parents; and sharing his story with his children and grandchildren. He shows photographs and documments.

Author/Creator
B., Victor, 1915-
Published
Paris, France : Témoignages pour mémoire, 1995
Interview Date
March 20, 1995.
Language
French
Copies
2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Victor B. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3207). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.