Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Arno S. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3403) interviewed by Edgar Pankow and Sieglind Schroder

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3403

Videotape testimony of Arno S., who was born in Berlin in 1920, the youngest of four children. He recalls moving to a village where his father built a chemical factory; learning in 1932 that his father was Jewish (his mother was not); seeing a boycott of Jewish stores in 1933; attending gymnasium in Eberswald; his brother beating a student who made antisemitic remarks to them; his close relationship with his Latin teacher; his father moving to Vienna where he had a girlfriend; observing antisemitic signs while on a bicycle trip with his sister in 1935; auctioning their house in 1937 when they could no longer pay for it; realizing the Nuremberg laws prevented him from having a German girlfriend; working briefly as an engineer after graduation; his father's emigration to the United States; volunteering for a work camp hoping it would allow his admission to university; not knowing if anyone knew his father was Jewish; becoming a soldier in spring 1939; posting to Pillau (presently Baltiĭsk), then Ålborg for nine months; transfer to Greece; discomfort with civilian starvation the winter of 1941-1942; serving as an airplane navigator, then as a paratrooper near St. Petersburg (he was one of very few survivors); tank training in Bergen; promotion to lieutenant; return to the Soviet Union; being wounded; capture by United States troops; incarceration as a prisoner of war in Wörgl; escape and recapture; escaping from Kufstein; returning to his troops; reunion with his brother in Hamburg and his mother in Bad Ferienwalde after the war; recovering family valuables he had buried; emigrating to join his father in the U.S.; his mother and siblings joining him; attending school in Switzerland; and returning to Germany. Mr. S. notes not discussing Jews during the war; observing starving Jewish women from a train passing through Lithuania and concentration camp prisoners near the Austrian border; his sense of identity as a German, not a Jew; and his strong anti-Zionism.

S., Arno, 1920-
Potsdam, Germany : Moses Mendelssohn Zentrum für europäisch-jüdische Studien, Universität Potsdam, 1995
Interview Date
August 4, 1995.
2 copies: Betacam SP dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Arno S. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3403). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.