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Ernst M. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3425) interviewed by Eva Lezzi and Sonja Miltenberger

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3425

Videotape testimony of Ernst M., who was born in Troppau (Opava, Czechoslovakia), Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in 1918. He recounts the transition to Czechoslovakia; his family's move to Prague; his father's position as a health minister (he was a physician); attending medical school; German occupation in March 1939; arrest with his parents in 1941; their imprisonment in Prague; deportation to Theresienstadt; slave labor in construction; confinement with his parents to the small fortress, a punishment area, in May 1943; their transfer to Auschwitz in late July; quarantine; assignment to hauling excrement and dead bodies; a prisoner from Troppau arranging for a better assignment in the Birkenau roofing commando; frequent meetings with his mother and a cousin; the man from Troppau getting his father a better assignment; friends shielding him from selection when he was ill; working at the ramp and in Canada Kommando; the trauma of seeing his mother led to the crematorium in February 1944; Franz Wunsch, an Austrian guard saving his life more than once (he testified on his behalf at a 1972 trial in Vienna); his father's selection in October; the Sonderkommando uprising; the death march in January 1945; train transport to Lesslau, Stettin, then Ebensee; liberation; and placement in a tuberculosis sanitorium.
Mr. M. recalls studying with Victor Frankl, who helped him enormously; doing research in Greece; working for a pharmaceutical firm in Frankfurt; many hospitalizations; a nervous breakdown; his marriage between 1977 and 1982; imprisonment and prosecution for non-payment of his medical bills; and assistance by the Protestant church and some individuals in proving his case. He discusses many incidents in camp; German women prisoners who had been prostitutes consistently helping others; the pain of his parents' deaths (he still cannot talk about it); and the loss of twenty-eight relatives and seventy-five close friends in concentration camps. He shows documents.

Author/Creator
M., Ernst, 1918-
Published
Potsdam, Germany : Moses Mendelssohn Zentrum für europäisch-jüdische Studien, Universität Potsdam, 1996
Interview Date
April 21, 1996.
Language
German
Copies
2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Ernst M. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3425). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.