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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 a distant estate near the Bialowieza Forest; his visits; completing gymnasium in 1939; German invasion on 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 organizing 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.
Soviet Union
Pruz︠h︡any (Belarus)
Bialowieza Forest (Poland and Belarus)
Bielsko-Biała (Poland)
Terezín (Ústecký kraj, Czech Republic)
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.
View in Yale University Library Catalog:
Record last modified: 2018-06-04 13:32:00
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