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Kenneth R. Holocaust testimony (HVT-2367) interviewed by David Herman and Elliot Perry,

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-2367

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.

R., Kenneth, 1926-
London, England : British Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1990
Interview Date
December 14, 1990.
Gorlice (Poland)
Perugia (Italy)
Rome (Italy)
Gubbio (Italy)
Naples (Italy)
Ancona (Italy)
London (England)
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.
View in Yale University Library Catalog:
Record last modified: 2018-06-04 13:28:00
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