Israel R. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3467) interviewed by Hessel Daalder and Hugo de Schampheleire
- Brussels, Belgium : Fondation Auschwitz, 1995
- Interview Date
- May 12, 1994 and February 3, 1995.
- 2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
- Cite As
- Israel R. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3467). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
Videotape testimony of Israel R., who was born in Rzeszów, Poland in 1926, the younger of two brothers. He recounts his family's 1929 emigration to Antwerp to join relatives; their orthodoxy; attending Agudat Israel on weekends; the births of two younger siblings; attending a commercial school in Berchem; German invasion; fleeing with his family to Brussels via Ostende, then to De Panne and Adinkerke, intending to leave for France; not being able to cross the border because they were Polish citizens; traveling to Eeko, Bruges, then Ghent; working in Brussels; anti-Jewish restrictions; visiting his father in Alken, then his brother in Charleroi; arrest on his trip home; incarceration in Breendonk, then Malines; deportation to Sakrau; deciding upon arrival to go with the men, not the children; observing Rosh ha-Shanah with other prisoners; transfer to Laurahütte; slave labor; transfer to Königshütte and Bismarckhütte; hospitalization; transfer to Blechhammer; a variety of labor assignments; friendships resulting in partnering to obtain extra rations; working next to British prisoners of war, one of whom gave him a sweater; Czechs warning them of SS presence; deteriorating conditions when the camp administration was transferred to Auschwitz; deep distress resulting from his best friend's death; a public hanging; a death march in January 1945; French and British POWs encouraging them and sharing their food; arrival at Gross-Rosen; train transport to Buchenwald; liberation by United States troops; repatriation to Brussels via Namur; learning his father and brother had not survived (he knew his mother and younger siblings were killed); living with an aunt; brief emigration to the United States; and learning to be a diamond cutter. Mr. R. discusses many details of camp hierarchy and life; sharing his story with his son, while not dwelling on it; writing a book about his experiences; and attributing his survival to luck.