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Arie Z. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3347) interviewed by Anita Tarsi

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3347

Videotape testimony of Arie Z., who was born in Pruz︠h︡any, Poland (presently Belarus), in 1923, the elder of two children. He recounts his father managing the estate of a Russian princess; attending Hebrew schools; participating in Hashomer Hatzair; increasing antisemtism including his father being fired in 1938; his finding another job on an distant estate near the Bialowieza Forest; his visits; completing gymnasium in 1939; German invasion September 1; joining his father with his mother and sister; Soviet occupation; returning home; his father joining them; completing final exams for the Soviet school in June 1941; German invasion; ghettoization; his father's employment by the Judenrat; a former Polish neighbor, a radio expert, employing him in his workshop outside the ghetto; smuggling food; taking bullets from visiting German soldiers; transfering them to those who escaped to the partisans; deportation with his family to Auschwitz/Birkenau in January 1943; separation from his mother and sister; slave labor building rail lines; his father's hospitalization (he never saw him again); transfer to Zgoda; slave labor in a munitions factory with Soviet prisoners of war; joining a group in winter 1944 digging an escape tunnel (he was the only Jew); escaping two months later; hiding by himself; posing as a non-Jewish escapee to receive assistance from Poles; and capture by a Volksdeutsche five weeks later.
Mr. Z. recounts incarceration in Bielsko-Biała; torture during interrogations; transfer to Auschwitz after a week; claiming he stumbled upon the tunnel and denying knowledge of the plan; transfer to Monowitz; encountering his uncle; assisting him; public hangings; claiming not to know a fellow escapee who had been recaptured; transfer to Salza; meeting Josef Rosensaft (later president of DP-Camp Bergen-Belsen); slave labor in an airplane factory; transfer to Buchenwald; evacuation by train; abandonment by the Germans; liberation; hospitalization by the Red Cross in Terezín; assistance from the Joint; moving to Landsberg, Feldafing, and Bergen-Belsen displaced persons camps with assistance from the Jewish Brigade; helping found Noʻar ḥalutsi, a Zionist youth group; assistance from UNRRA; Beriḥah organizating their illegal emigration by ship to Palestine via Italy in spring 1947; interdiction by the British; incarceration on Cyprus; helping administer the camp; marriage; release to Israel in 1949; and the births of two children. Mr. Z. discusses focusing solely on surviving a day at a time in camps; thinking of a future again during the escape plans; and not sharing his story due to lack of Israeli understanding. He shows a letter and newspapers related to his work on Cyprus.

Z., Arie, 1923-
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1991
Interview Date
May 24 and 29, June 4, 11, and 18, and July 7, 1991.
2 copies: 3/4 in. master; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Arie Z. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3347). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
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Record last modified: 2016-11-08 12:49:00
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