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Willi F. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3389) interviewed by Cathy S. Gelbin and Eva Lezzi

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3389

Videotape testimony of Willi F., who was born in Berlin, Germany in 1923 to a Jewish father and Catholic mother. He recounts the excitement of Nazi rallies; learning his father was Jewish (though he had converted to Catholicism) in 1932 when he was harassed at school; anti-Jewish laws barring him from an apprenticeship; working for a Communist Party member; the impact of anti-Jewish laws increasing after Kristallnacht; forced labor in a munitions factory; sabotaging his work; traveling to Konstanz, planning to enter Switzerland illegally; a guard accosting him; traveling to Lustenau to enter there; arrest while trying to cross the border; six weeks of interrogation in Feldkirch; six-month imprisonment in Graz; traveling to Friedrichshafen, then back to Berlin; forced labor removing Allied bombing rubble; transfer to Auschwitz; slave labor at Buna-Monowitz; and transfer to Dora. Mr. F. discusses convincing a prisoner to eat soup even if it was not kosher; beatings in Auschwitz and Dora; losing hope of surviving; camp guards purposely setting German and "foreign" Jews against each other; reluctance to share his story; and his wife and children understanding him better after watching his first testimony.

Author/Creator
F., Willi, 1923-
Published
Potsdam, Germany : Moses Mendelssohn Zentrum für europäisch-jüdische Studien, Universität Potsdam, 1996
Interview Date
October 2, 1995 and March 28, 1996.
Language
German
Copies
2 copies: Betacam SP dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Willi F. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3135). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.