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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.
Kraków (Poland)
Nowy Wiśnicz (Poland)
Bochnia (Poland)
Warsaw (Poland)
Bucharest (Romania)
Tarvisio (Italy)
Paris (France)
Tradate (Italy)
Prague (Czech Republic)
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.
View in Yale University Library Catalog:
Record last modified: 2018-06-04 13:26:00
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