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Shimon S. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3326) interviewed by Yoram Amit and Anita Tarsi

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3326

Videotape testimony of Shimon S., who was born in 1930 in Łódź, Poland. He recounts ghettoization; his father's fatal shooting; pervasive hunger; stealing food and coal with an organized group of children; deportation to Chelmno; observing Kommandant Hans Bothmann randomly murder Jews for "entertainment"; his assignment with Walther Burmeister to remove gold teeth and valuables from corpses after gassings; finding his mother's purse among the valuables; a visit by Hans Biebow; Burmeister protecting him from selections; a mass execution in retaliation for an escape; taking and sharing food with fellow prisoners; dismantling and destroying the crematorium; execution of the prisoner workers; pretending to be dead after he was shot in the neck; observing a spontaneous revolt of the remaining prisoners (two Germans were killed, including Willi Lenz); escaping; assistance from a Polish farmer; liberation by Soviet troops; hospitalization; returning home (no one survived); joining a kibbutz; emigration to Israel via Italy; serving in the Israeli army; testifying at several war crimes trials, including those of Alois Häfele, Walther Burmeister, Gustav Laabs, Hans Bothmann, and Günter Fuchs; testifying on behalf of Walther Burmeister, at the behest of Gideon Hausner at Eichmann's trial in 1961 (his testimony followed Ka-tzetnik's); and participation in Claude Lanzmann's documentary "Shoah." Mr. S. describes Chelmno's operation in detail; singing there; psychologically adapting to witnessing thousands of murders; his will to survive; frequent depression and nightmares; coping with his wife's support; his wish to transfer the remains of those killed in the final revolt to Israel; and the difficulty of recounting his past in this testimony.

Author/Creator
S., Shimon, 1930-2006.
Published
Ramat Aviv, Israel : Beth Hatefutsoth, Nahum Goldman Museum of the Jewish Diaspora, 1991
Interview Date
June 7, 1991.
Language
Hebrew
Copies
2 copies: 3/4 in. master; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Shimon S. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3326). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
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View in Yale University Library Catalog: http://hdl.handle.net/10079/bibid/4297423
Record last modified: 2016-08-08 16:02:00
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/hvt4297423