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Genya B. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3311)

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3311

Videotape testimony of Genya B., a twin, who was born in Kiev, Ukraine in 1923. She recounts her brother's birth when she was three; a happy childhood in a loving family; her parents' illnesses during the 1930 famine period; her father's military draft; German invasion in June 1941; a mass round-up on September 29; a non-Jewish neighbor warning them to hide; brutal Ukrainian and German guards; her terror when she realized they would all be killed (she could hear the shots); separation from her family; she and a younger friend telling the guards they were not Jewish; their release; the neighbor hiding them, providing false papers, money and supplies; fleeing east toward Soviet-occupied areas according to the neighbor's directions; returning to Kiev; hearing her brother had survived; the neighbor insisting they leave again; walking to Poltava, always cold and hungry; staying with villagers en route; joining a group of Jews in Chutove; escaping with her friend when Germans caught them; frequent encounters with German and Ukrainian soldiers; traveling to Kharkiv; Soviets assisting them in reaching Chuhuïv; train transfer to Kup'i︠a︡nsʹk, Voronezh, Saratov, and Tashkent; living on a communal farm; treatment by a doctor in Solʹ-Iletskiĭ; joining a cousin in Omsk; separating from her friend when she joined her father in Barnaul; their return to Kiev in 1946; her father's remarriage; her marriage in 1950; her father's death in 1955; her husband's death; remarriage; frequent hospitalizations; antisemitic harassment; and emigrating to Israel after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Ms. B. discusses the impossibility of resistance; German ruses resulting in Jewish compliance; many non-Jews who helped them, some knowing they were Jews, some not; lifelong health problems resulting from her experiences; not sharing her story due to the pain it caused her, but recently feeling obligated to do so as one of very few survivors of Babi Yar; and continuing hope her brother had survived. She shows photographs.

B., Genya, 1923-
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1991
Interview Date
October 24, November 13, and November 30, 1991.
Kiev (Ukraine)
Poltava (Ukraine)
Chutove (Ukraine)
Kharkiv (Ukraine)
Chuhuïv (Ukraine)
Kup'i︠a︡nsʹk (Ukraine)
Voronezh (Russia)
Saratov (Russia)
Tashkent (Uzbekistan)
Solʹ-Iletskiĭ raĭon (Russia)
Omsk (Russia)
Barnaul (Altaĭskiĭ kraĭ, Russia)
2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Genya B. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3311). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.