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Walter R. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3258) interviewed by Margalit Shlain and Edna Lewinger

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3258

Videotape testimony of Walter R., who was born in Vilna, Poland (presently Vilnius, Lithuania) in 1918. He recounts his family's orthodoxy; their move to Břeclav in 1922; participating in Hashomer Hatzair and Maccabi; boxing competitively; his father's death in 1935; working in Otrokovice; German occupation; anti-Jewish restrictions; moving to Napajedla; his brother and mother joining him; moving to Prešov, thinking he could pass as a non-Jew; capture in a round-up in 1939; forced labor in the Slovak army in Zvolen, Liptovský Mikuláš, Hronsek, Nováky, and elsewhere; release in 1942; joining a half-sister in Šaštín; capture by Hlinka guards; deportation two days later to Žilina, then Auschwitz/Birkenau; slave labor in Buna/Monowitz; reassignment to a privileged position in the Canada Kommando; seeing his brother; hospitalization; a friend warning him to leave before a selection; participating in a boxing match; a kapo preventing Germans from whipping him to death; digging sewage trenches; seeing his mother in 1944 (she was later killed); assignment as a handyman for an SS unit which provided him with extra food; public hangings; not believing he would survive; a death march; escaping with other prisoners; assistance from locals; traveling to Hulín, then Otrokovice; hiding with a family for two weeks; traveling to Vizovice; entering Slovakia illegally; traveling to Trenčín; obtaining false papers; joining the partisans; being sent to Bratislava; liberation by Soviet troops; returning to Břeclav; attacking Germans for revenge; a town official warning him to stop; returning to Bratislava; marriage to a survivor; reunion with his brother; his son's birth; emigration to Israel in 1949; and another son's birth. Mr. R. discusses many incidents and people from the camps; attributing his survival to luck and help from others; losing his religious beliefs, nightmares, and health problems resulting from his experiences; visiting Treblinka, Majdanek, and Auschwitz with a school class; and reunions with friends from Auschwitz.

R., Walter, 1918-
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1991
Interview Date
September 3, 1991.
2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Walter R. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3258). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
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Record last modified: 2016-11-21 13:53:00
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