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Mordechai Z. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3247)

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3247

Videotape testimony of Mordechai Z., who was born in Švenčionys, Poland (presently Lithuania) in 1921, the second of five children. He recounts participating in Halutz; Soviet occupation; German invasion; a round-up that included his older brother (they never saw him again); fleeing with his family to Milkuskos, then Svir; returning home; ghettoization; forced labor for Organisation Todt in Palemonas; escaping; entering the Vilna ghetto with assistance from non-Jews; living in an orphanage; arrival of his father, mother, and sisters; hiding with FPO partisans during the ghetto's liquidation (his family was taken), then in a friend's bunker; capture; slave labor in chains felling trees, disinterring corpses from mass graves and burning them in trenches in Ponary; working with Soviet/Jewish POWs; with a group, digging a tunnel at night for four months; escaping with several others; assistance from villagers; joining partisans in the Rudniki forest; participating in missions; capturing Armia Krajowa partisans; killing them in self-defense; participating in the liberation of Vilna; working for the NKVD as a policeman; visiting his hometown; traveling to Lublin, Alba Lulia, Bucharest, Budapest, Graz, then Italy; living on a kibbutz near Bari; illegal emigration to Palestine in 1945; serving in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war; marriage; and the births of three children. Mr. Z. discusses seeing things in the mass graves he does “not want to remember”; and not sharing his experiences, except with one daughter when she was older.

Z., Mordechai, 1921-
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1993
Interview Date
June 25, 1993.
Švenčionys (Lithuania)
Milkuškos (Lithuania)
Svir (Belarus)
Vilnius (Lithuania)
Lublin (Poland)
Alba Iulia (Romania)
Bucharest (Romania)
Graz (Austria)
Budapest (Hungary)
2 copies: 3/4 in. master; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Mordechai Z. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3247). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
View in Yale University Library Catalog:
Record last modified: 2018-06-04 13:25:00
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