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Iakov M. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3599) interviewed by Irina Trampolski

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3599

Videotape testimony of Iakov M., who was born in Vitsebsk, Belarus in 1928. He recalls his family's poverty; attending Russian school; some religious observances; his father's death in April 1941; German invasion in June; one sister's evacuation with her medical school; fleeing with his mother, younger sister, and neighbors to Shumilino; ghettoization; sneaking out for food; his mother ordering him to escape in November; returning the next day; learning all were murdered in a mass killing; a non-Jew in Pyatnitsa hiding him and advising him of hiding and survival strategies; going from village to village; warning Jews in Byeshankovichy; a woman hiding him in Strelka; joining partisans in fall 1942; battles in Rasony, Klyastitsy, and Sirotino; delivering messages to other detachments; crossing the front in Vyerkhnyadzvinsk in 1944; joining the Soviet military; assignments in Latvia, Japan, and China; discharge in 1951; returning to Vitsebsk; and moving to Minsk. He discusses his surviving sister who lives in the United States; a joyous reunion with many who helped save him when visiting Pyatnitsa in 1960; informing a foundation of his rescuers, who then received financial assistance; maintaining the mass grave in Shumilino; nightmares of running from Germans; attending annual partisan reunions; his children's disinterest in his experiences; and his belief that films should not portray Jews solely as victims, but also as fighters.

M., Iakov, 1928-
Minsk, Belarus : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1997
Interview Date
August 2, 1997.
2 copies: Betacam SP master; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Iakov M. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3599). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.