Kenneth R. Holocaust testimony (HVT-2367) interviewed by David Herman and Elliot Perry,
Videotape testimony of Kenneth R., who was born in Gorlice, Poland in 1926, the only child in an affluent family. He recounts his mother's death in 1931; antisemitic harassment; attending Catholic church with his nanny; wonderful extended family gatherings; belonging to Hashomer Hatzair and No'ar ha-Tsiyoni; German invasion; assistance from a German soldier who befriended his aunt; ghettoization; smuggling food; working for a Volksdeutch; receiving extra food from him; hiding after warnings from the soldier of round-ups; transfer alone to the work camp; a mass shooting and deportation in August 1942, including all his family; transfer in January 1943 to Muszyna with sixty others from Gorlice, then to Mielec in March; slave labor in a Heinkel factory; receiving extra food from a Polish civilian worker; transfer to Wieliczka, then train transfer to Flossenbürg; a beating resulting in permanent deafness in one ear; assignment to the children's barrack; being chosen as an assistant by a kapo who raped him; receiving extra food; sharing it with his friend Joseph K.; singing at kapo gatherings; obtaining release from punishment from his kapo for Joseph K.; his kapo changing his identity card to Catholic; obtaining boots for Joseph K. when the Jews were evacuated; a death march with the non-Jewish prisoners; liberation by United States troops on April 23, 1945; prisoners beating kapos to death; returning to Flossenbürg; obtaining documents as a Polish Catholic; and traveling with an Italian prisoner to his home near Perugia.
Mr. R. tells of both his euphoria and nightmares (they persist to the present); assistance from UNRRA; receiving documents as a Polish Catholic in Rome; traveling to Gubbio with a Jewish Polish soldier who advised him not to reveal his Judaism; going to Naples intending to emigrate to join an aunt in the United States; not being allowed to board the U.S. ship; attending Polish military cadet school in Ancona as a non-Jew; constant antisemitic remarks; Catholic confirmation; traveling to England with the school; notification from the mayor of Gorlice that only one uncle had survived of his family of sixty-two; contacting Jewish authorities in London; and friendships and business relations with other Jews. Mr. R. discusses visiting his uncle who had emigrated to Montreal, his friend Joseph K., and other former prisoners in the U.S.; losing his belief in God but feeling Jewish; a monument his uncle erected in Gorlice; corresponding with Gorlice survivor Samuel O.; and efforts to obtain compensation for his deafness, the trauma of his rape, and his family's property.
- London, England : British Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1990
- Interview Date
- December 14, 1990.
- 2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
- Cite As
- Kenneth R. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-2367). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.