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Yehuda M. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3338)

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3338

Videotape testimony of Yehuda M., who was born in Kraków, Poland in 1924, one of two children. He recounts attending Hebrew school; participating in a Zionist group from age ten; German invasion; anti-Jewish restrictions, including schools closing; attending clandestine classes; joining Akiva; ghettoization; volunteering as a locksmith for Organisation Todt; sabotaging the work; establishing a Zionist training farm with Szymon Draenger in Nowy Wiśnicz; becoming a Judenrat courier; forming a Jewish resistance unit with Adolf Liebeskind and others in summer 1942; meeting outside the ghetto with members of the Polish communist underground; obtaining false papers for himself and others; arranging housing outside the ghetto for underground members; hiding his family during a round-up in October 1942; his father's deportation; meeting Warsaw ghetto leaders in December, including Yitzhak Zuckerman; bombing Cyganeria, a meeting place of German soldiers; hiding in Prokocim, then the Bochnia ghetto; arrest in March 1943; beatings and interrogations in Montelupich; deportation to Auschwitz in April; transfer to Buna/Monowitz; brutal slave labor; severe illness; hospitalization; friends arranging a longer stay to recover his health; helping a young Polish prisoner; joining the underground; slave labor in the Buna factory; a Polish kapo saving him and other weaker Jews; transfer to a privileged position as a hospital nurse; celebrating Jewish holidays with others; transfer to the commando of the prisoner he had helped in order to improve conditions for others; Allied bombings; public hangings; the death march to Gleiwitz in January 1944; briefly encountering his brother; hiding with others when Gleiwitz was evacuated; and liberation by Soviet troops.
Mr. M. recalls returning to Kraków in February; pervasive antisemitism; meeting Yitzhak Zuckerman in Warsaw; traveling to Bucharest; joining Abba Kovner's “Revenge” group; assisting illegal immigration with Beriḥah; traveling to Tarvisio; meeting his future wife; raising funds in Paris; reunion with his brother; participating in a plot to poison German POWs near Nuremburg; hiding “Revenge" members in Prague; traveling to Tradate; and illegal emigration to Palestine. Mr. M. discusses contemplating suicide after liberation; the Zionists' efforts to raise morale in prison and camp despite their belief they would not survive; the prisoner hierarchy; learning his parents and sister-in-law did not survive; the importance of luck to survival; the profound humiliation inflicted upon Jews by the Germans; his rationale for planning large scale revenge; and a book based on a colleague's diary. He names many with whom he had contact.

M., Yehuda, 1924-
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1992
Interview Date
March 30, 1992.
2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Yehuda M. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3338). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
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Record last modified: 2013-11-25 13:09:00
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