Rivka K. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3342) interviewed by Nathan Beyrak
Videotape testimony of Rivka K., who was born in Rzeszów, Poland, in 1920, one of two children. She recounts her family's Zionism; attending Hebrew schools; participating in Zionist youth groups; her family's move to Kraków in 1933; attending a Hebrew gymnasium; participating in Ha-No'ar ha-Ivri-Akiba led by Yoel Dreiblatt; antisemitic harassment; working for Akiba in Warsaw; being sent to establish Akiba in Bydgoszcz, Skarżysko, and Starachowice; assisting German-Jewish refugees in Zbąszyń; returning to Kraków as a leader with Shimon Draenger, Adolf Liebeskind (Dolek) and others; engagement to Liebeskind in January 1939; German invasion; Germans closing her father's factory; anti-Jewish restrictions; Draenger's arrest and release; marriage in December; traveling to Warsaw to destroy all the Akiba documents; working on a Polish farm with other Akiba members in spring 1940; ghettoization in Kraków; she and her husband bringing their parents to the ghetto; and obtaining housing through her husband's connections with the Judenrat; establishing a farm in another town with support from the Joint; traveling to other ghettos using false papers to maintain Akiba contacts; organizing Jewish resistance on the farm; working in a warehouse, then as a nurse; deportations; obtaining weapons; blowing up railroad tracks with Hashomer Hatzair; many near-arrests when traveling to Wiśnicz, Sandomierz, Mielec and other places; hiding briefly with her former maid; having two abortions; arrest; beatings during interrogations; and Akiba members helping each other.
Ms. K. recalls deportation to Auschwitz/Birkenau; slave labor demolishing nearby houses; others assisting her when she was too weak to walk; a friend arranging her assignment to the Canada Kommando; sharing extra food and clothing with others; contact with Akiba members in the men's camp; learning her husband had been killed; losing hope, knowing her parents and brother were also dead; learning of the underground; being sent to the “punishment” block; friends arranging her transfer to the hospital as a nurse; sneaking herself into a transport to Reichenbach; slave labor in a factory; sabotaging the work; a German civilian supervisor giving her food; a higher ranking prisoner taking measure to save weak women; a death march, then train transport to Parschnitz; working as a maid in another camp; train transport to Ludwigslust; Allied bombings; transfer to Bergen-Belsen, then Hamburg; transfer to the Red Cross; transport to Copenhagen, then Helsingborg; participating in Hechaulutz; organizing a youth kibbutz in Myckelby; members emigrating to Palestine; traveling to Belgium and Paris, where she met her father's siblings; illegal emigration from Marseille to Palestine in 1947; interdiction by the British; incarceration on Cyprus; participating in Haganah; digging tunnels and escaping through them; arrival in Israel; marriage; and the birth of her son. Ms. K. discusses the importance of support from others for survival in camps; health problems resulting from her experiences; observing Jewish holidays in camps; and testifying for a ghetto official who had been accused of collaboration. She names many of those with whom she interacted and describes many episodes.
- Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1992
- Interview Date
- May 21, 1992.
Nowy Wiśnicz (Poland)
- 2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
- Cite As
- Rivka K. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3342). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.