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Paul P. Holocaust testimony (HVT-1454) interviewed by Michael Alpert

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-1454

Videotape testimony of Paul P., a twin, who was born in Mikulov, Czechoslovakia in 1925. He recounts attending German and Czech schools; antisemitic harassment; involvement in Zionist youth groups; moving to Brno after German occupation; his mother "forcing" his father's illegal emigration to Palestine in 1939; his departure for England and his mother and sister leaving for Yugoslavia on August 31, 1939; their return to Prague due to the outbreak of war; forced labor in coal mines; hospitalization; refusing a nun's offer to hide him; returning to Brno; deportation with his mother and sister to Theresienstadt; participating in cultural events and the youth movement led by Fredy Hirsch; sham improvements for a Red Cross visit; sharing extra food with his mother; sabotaging work; marriage; deportation to Auschwitz/Birkenau in fall 1944; being too stunned to be afraid; learning his mother had been killed; sharing memories of literature and food; transfer to Gleiwitz; the cruelty of Kommandant Otto Moll; sabotaging their work repairing railroad cars; friends helping him during a brief sight loss; a death march to Blechhammer in January 1945; liberation by Soviet troops; enlisting in the Soviet military; and discharge shortly thereafter.
Mr. P. tells of traveling to Uz︠h︡horod, Košice, and Budapest; reunion with his twin sister in Prague (she was debilitated and never recovered); moving to Brno, then Mikulov; recovering family property; reunion with his wife; her suicide attempt; his father's return; moving to Belgium and France with Hashomer Hatzair; boarding an illegal boat to Palestine in April 1947; interception by the British; incarceration on Cyprus; entering Israel a year later; service during the 1948 war; separation from his wife; and moving to Germany, then the United States. He discusses daily life, inter-group relations, his state of mind, and songs in the camps; wanting to take revenge, but not doing so; and believing his survival was due to luck and random circumstances, and that there is no meaning in or lessons to be learned from the Holocaust. He shows photographs.

Author/Creator
P., Paul, 1925-1992.
Published
New York, N.Y. : A Living Memorial to the Holocaust-Museum of Jewish Heritage, 1990
Interview Date
September 11, 1990.
Language
English
Copies
2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Paul P. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-1454). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
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View in Yale University Library Catalog: http://hdl.handle.net/10079/bibid/4295315
Record last modified: 2015-08-06 14:51:00
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/hvt4295315