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Sonya O. Holocaust testimony (HVT-1220) interviewed by Jose Quiles and Bernard Weinstein

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-1220

Videotape testimony of Sonya O., who was born in Nowogródek, Poland (presently Navahrudak, Belarus) in 1922, one of five children. She recounts a pleasant childhood in an affluent family; attending gymnasium; Soviet occupation; confiscation of their business and home; acceptance to medical school; German invasion; deportation of her grandparents; ghettoization; working in the ghetto hospital; one brother being killed; conversion of the ghetto to a forced labor camp; remaining with her family; her younger brother starving to death; round-up of her mother and sister, then of her father a week later (they were killed); participating in a group that dug an escape tunnel; several hundred escaping through the tunnel at night, including her brother, future husband, and his brother; separation from her brother in the dark; hiding during the day and walking at night; a farmer hiding them for a few weeks; contact with the Bielski partisans; joining them in Naliboki forest in September 1943; finding her brother there; liberation by Soviet troops in July 1944; returning to Nowogródek; moving to Ivi︠a︡nets, her future husband's hometown, with his brother and her brother; living with non-Jewish friends of her husband's family; a Soviet soldier warning them to leave; traveling to Łódź, then Romania; smuggling themselves to Italy; living in a displaced persons camp; her son's birth in August 1945; assistance from HIAS, the Joint, and UNRRA; becoming seriously ill; hospitalization in Rome; emigration to the United States in 1950; and the birth of her second son. Ms. O. notes sharing her experiences with her children.

Author/Creator
O., Sonya, 1922-
Published
Union, N.J. : Kean College Oral Testimonies Project, 1988
Interview Date
February 17, 1988 and May 4, 1988.
Language
English
Copies
4 copies: 3/4 in. dub; Betacam SP restoration master; Betacam SP restoration submaster; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Sonya O. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-1220). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.