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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.
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.
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Record last modified: 2014-05-29 10:31:00
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