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Leon R. Holocaust testimony (HVT-2125) interviewed by David Herman

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-2125

Videotape testimony of Leon R., who was born in Ostrowiec, Poland in 1927, one of four children. He recalls his family's orthodoxy; attending public school and cheder; antisemitic harassment; German invasion; anti-Jewish restrictions; transfer with his father and brother to a labor camp; escaping; learning his mother and sisters were deported; a non-Jewish neighbor offering help; rejoining his father and brother; transfer to Bliżyn; public hangings; his brother's transfer; his father giving him his bread ration, telling him it was extra; his father's death; hardening himself; stealing food; frequent beatings; transfer to Birkenau; observing arriving transports and the crematoria smoke; a one-time, brief assignment to the crematoria area; hearing the explosion of the Sonderkommando revolt; a death march and train transfer to Buchenwald, then Theresienstadt; becoming ill; awakening after liberation by Soviet troops; a doctor wanting to adopt him; declining to shoot Germans; briefly returning to Ostrowiec; being brought to a group home in Windermere; learning his brother was alive; hearing from an uncle in Brazil; his brother going there; living in Glasgow; receiving emigration papers from his uncle; the Brazilian embassy in London refusing his emigration; meeting his future wife; marriage; and raising two sons. Mr. R. discusses visits to Brazil; a recent trip to Poland; and pervasive painful memories. He shows photographs.

Author/Creator
R., Leon, 1927-
Published
London, England : British Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1993
Interview Date
January 27, 1993.
Language
English
Copies
2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Leon R. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-2125). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.