Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

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.

B., Leon, 1919-
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1991
Interview Date
December 26, 1991.
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.
Expand all
View in Yale University Library Catalog:
Record last modified: 2016-11-28 10:45:00
This page: