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Ilona W. Holocaust testimony (HVT-1237) interviewed by Noemi Gelb and Bernard Weinstein,

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-1237

Videotape testimony of Ilona W., who was born in Przemyśl, Poland in 1925. She recounts her family's affluence; frequent visits to relatives in Kraków; attending public school; German invasion, then occupation by the Soviets shortly thereafter; moving to Lʹviv to avoid deportation as capitalists; returning to Przemyśl after two months; German invasion; ghettoization; forced labor outside the ghetto; a German officer giving her food; her family building a bunker; hiding during round-ups; betrayal of the bunker; being loaded on a train bound for Belzec; escaping through the window; staying with Polish family friends; clandestinely entering Jewish slave labor barracks; deportation to Płaszów in January 1944; slave labor sewing uniforms; digging a mass grave; one woman killing herself with poison, fearing the grave was for them; public hangings; transfer to Auschwitz/Birkenau, to a munitions factory in Germany, and then to Theresienstadt; arrival of the Red Cross; liberation by Soviet troops; traveling to Austria with assistance from the Red Cross; marriage to a survivor; and emigration to the United States. Ms. W. discusses remaining with a friend throughout the camps; her hatred of the Poles; not discussing her experiences with her children until they were teenagers; and a recent visit with her husband to Kraków, Płaszów, Auschwitz/Birkenau, Przemyśl, and Belzec.

W., Ilona, 1925-
Union, N.J. : Kean College Oral Testimonies Project, 1988
Interview Date
February 16, 1988.
Przemyśl (Poland)
Kraków (Poland)
Lʹviv (Ukraine)
Prague (Czech Republic)
2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Ilona W. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-1237). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.