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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.

Author/Creator
B., Genya, 1923-
Published
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1991
Interview Date
October 24, November 13, and November 30, 1991.
Language
Russian
Copies
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.