Maurice P. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3464) interviewed by Michel Rosenfeldt and Yannis Thanassekos
- Brussels, Belgium : Fondation Auschwitz, 1995
- Interview Date
- April 5, 1995.
- 2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
- Cite As
- Maurice P. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3464). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
Videotape testimony of Maurice P., who was born in Brussels, Belgium to Polish immigrants in 1923, the oldest of five children. He recalls a happy childhood despite his family's poverty; the sacredness of Friday nights despite their general secularism; cordial relations with non-Jews; membership in Zionist and socialist organizations; leaving school to begin work at age twelve; non-Jewish friends attending his bar mitzvah; German invasion; traveling to Gravelines intending to enlist; returning after encountering German troops; obtaining authentic papers as a non-Jew; distributing Resistance flyers; arrest of his cell members in 1942, then moving to Linz using his non-Jewish ID fearing his own arrest; his arrest in September; transfer to St. Leonard then St. Gilles prisons via several cities in Germany; his former school director, a non-Jew, sending him money so he could purchase extra food; revealing he was Jewish to avoid execution as another Resistance member; deportation to Auschwitz in June 1943; being compelled to beat another prisoner to save himself; meaningless slave labor; learning of the gas chambers and crematoria in Birkenau; nightmares about his family's extermination, which continue to the present; transfer to Jawischowitz; privileged slave labor as an electrician and in the kitchen; forming close friendships; the trauma of friends being selected for death; transfer to Buna/Monowitz in January 1944; a public hanging; working with British POWs who provided them with extra food; his privileged position as a kapo's assistant; prisoners staging a Yiddish comedy; surgery by an Austrian physician; a death march in January 1945 to Gleiwitz; train transport to Buchenwald, Holzminden, then Dachau; liberation by United States troops; recovering from typhus; profound sadness knowing that no family members had survived; repatriation by the Red Cross; living in Marcinelle; returning to Brussels; indifference of both Jews and non-Jews to his experiences despite his urge to share them; and organizing a camp survivors' group in 1956. Mr. P. discusses the importance to his survival of luck and prisoner solidarity; sharing his experiences with his son beginning when he was twelve; frequent trips to Auschwitz with students; and his belief that he learned nothing from his extreme suffering.