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Leon B. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3317) interviewed by Anita Tarsi

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3317

Videotape testimony of Leon B., who was born in Katowice, Poland in 1919, one of three children. He recounts his family's affluence; attending cheder and a German school; participating in Zionist groups, including Betar; a lecture by Vladimir Jabotinsky; his father purchasing land in Israel; managing a Zionist youth camp in Sękowa in summer 1939; German invasion; fleeing with his father and sister to Będzin; his mother and brother joining them; moving to Sosnowiec; organizing a Zionist group with Yiśraʼel Ḳoz'ukh and others; warning fellow Jews not to report for deportation; forced labor building roads; deportation to Gross Masselwitz; escaping back to Sosnowiec; forming an underground group; meetings with Jewish resistance leaders Eliezer Geller and Mordecai Anielewicz; his mother's arrest; obtaining her release by threatening Moshe Merin, head of the Judenrat; meeting with Polish partisans from Armia Krajowa; traveling with a Pole to Częstochowa and its ghetto using false papers, then to another city where he obtained weapons; ghettoization; hiding with non-Jewish friends; sending their group members and their parents to Austria and Hungary as non-Jews; escaping to Vienna; arrest; escaping to Sosnowiec; hiding with Polish friends; being smuggled to Budapest in November 1943; and reunion with his parents and friends, whose escapes he had arranged.
Mr. B. recalls working with Joel Brand to move Jews from Sopron to Budapest; traveling to Mohács; German invasion; hiding; his mother's arrest (his father had left for Palestine); smuggling Jews to Romania; capture by Hungarian gendarmes; interrogations and beatings; incarceration in a Gestapo prison in Szeged; deportation to a labor camp as a non-Jew; escape; capture; transfer to a Gestapo prison in Budapest; deportation to Auschwitz; delivering food which provided an opportunity to obtain extra bread; a friend arranging his transfer to a privileged position in the laundry; learning his mother was in Birkenau; sending her food and clothing; escaping from a death march with two friends; returning to Sosnowiec; hiding with Polish friends; liberation by Soviet troops; his appointment as head of the Sosnowiec Jewish community; traveling to Budapest, then Bucharest; returning to Budapest; reunion with his sister and mother; their emigration to Palestine; joining them in 1949; joining his uncle in Germany fourteen years later, and living there for twenty-five years. Mr. B. discusses his brother's death in Auschwitz; the prisoner hierarchy there; the importance of luck to his survival; and relations among various Zionist groups and leaders. He names many people with whom he had contact.

Author/Creator
B., Leon, 1919-
Published
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1991
Interview Date
December 26, 1991.
Locale
Poland
Sosnowiec (Województwo Śląskie)
Częstochowa
Hungary
Katowice (Poland)
Sękowa (Poland)
Będzin (Poland)
Sosnowiec (Województwo Śląskie, Poland)
Częstochowa (Poland)
Vienna (Austria)
Budapest (Hungary)
Sopron (Hungary)
Mohács (Hungary)
Szeged (Hungary)
Bucharest (Romania)
Language
Hebrew
Copies
2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Leon B. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3317). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
 
View in Yale University Library Catalog: http://hdl.handle.net/10079/bibid/4297411
Record last modified: 2018-06-04 13:26:00
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/hvt4297411