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Jakob Z. Holocaust testimony (HVT-1837) interviewed by Gidʻon Graif and Raphael Rozner

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-1837

Videotape testimony of Jakob Z., who was born in Sochaczew, Poland in 1918. He recalls his family's orthodoxy; German invasion; the family move to Warsaw; ghettoization; their move to Płońsk; his father being taken away; deportation with his family to Birkenau in December 1942; separation upon arrival (he never saw them again); slave labor; contact with the camp underground; reassignment to the Sonderkommando; moving corpses from the gas chamber to the crematoria; wanting to commit suicide the first night; a rabbi dissuading him; becoming accustomed to horrendous work; burning corpses in open pits when the crematoria reached capacity; losing his faith in God; adequate food (they took it from the clothing of the dead); the failed uprising; having to incinerate his friends after they were executed; the death march in January 1945; escaping the next day; living in France after the war; and emigration to Israel in 1951. Mr. Z. discusses how nudity removed the will to resist before the Jews were gassed; close relations within the Sonderkommando; atrocities committed by Otto Moll; his forty-year silence after the war (he felt ashamed and guilty); and recently reassessing his role, losing his shame, and discussing his experiences with his family. He illustrates the extermination process using photographs.

Author/Creator
Z., Jakob, 1918-
Published
Ramat Aviv, Israel : Beth Hatefutsoth, Nahum Goldman Museum of the Jewish Diaspora, 1988
Interview Date
June 30, 1988.
Language
Hebrew
Copies
2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Jakob Z. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-1837). 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/4296192
Record last modified: 2011-05-05 11:40:00
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/hvt4296192