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Magdalena R. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3694) interviewed by Peter Salner and Ingrid Antalová,

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3694

Videotape testimony of Magdalena R., who was born in Žilina, Czechoslovakia (presently Slovakia) in 1924. She recalls a loving family environment; anti-Jewish restrictions following Slovak independence; her father placing her in a tuberculosis sanitarium to prevent her deportation; living with her parents and brother in Rajec; joining the partisans during the Slovak uprising; escaping with her family to a forest cabin; leaving with her father to obtain medication for him; Germans discovering the cabin while they were gone (they shot her mother); deportation with her father to Sered, then a week later to Auschwitz/Birkenau; separation from her father (she never saw him again); remaining with a cousin; their transfer a week later to Kurzbach; slave labor digging anti-tank ditches; becoming inured to corpses all around her; a German supervisor obtaining better clothes and shoes for them; encountering a man from Žilina who gave her extra food; a death march to Gross-Rosen; male prisoners “adopting” females; assistance from the man who “adopted” her; train transport to Bergen-Belsen; epidemics, starvation; and thirst; liberation by Canadian troops in April; recuperating with her cousin in Glyn-Hughes hospital in the displaced persons camp; returning home via Plzeň; reunion with her brother; encountering a Nazi collaborator; authorities doing nothing when she reported him since there was no evidence; attempting suicide; moving to Prague for five years; returning to Slovakia; completing her education; marriage; raising her son; and her divorce. Ms. R. notes discussing her experiences after the war, but sensing others did not want to hear; the difficulty of conveying the horrors of the camps; visual memories of her early life, but not being able to connect the images; visiting Auschwitz/Birkenau; exhibiting photographs of that trip; meeting friends from Žilina when she visited Israel; and the importance to her of her Jewish self-awareness despite having no affiliation with the Jewish community.

R., Magdalena, 1924-
Bratislava, Slovakia : Milan Šimečka Foundation, 1995
Interview Date
September 7, 1995.
Žilina (Slovakia)
Rajec (Slovakia)
Plzeň (Czech Republic)
Prague (Czech Republic)
2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Magdalena R. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3694). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
View in Yale University Library Catalog:
Record last modified: 2018-06-04 13:28:00
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