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Zachar T. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3373)

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3373

Videotape testimony of Zachar T., who was born in Russia in 1912 and raised in Kiev. He recounts working in a factory; marriage to a non-Jew; few people knowing he was Jewish; their daughter's birth; German invasion in 1941; observing Germans shooting Jews and prisoners of war; being forced to move; displaying an icon and an image of Hitler in their new home to dispel suspicion; exchanging the property of a cousin for food in nearby villages; betrayal by a friend; arrest; frequent torture; transfer to Syrets concentration camp in February 1943; slave labor outside the camp; clandestine communication with his wife, with assistance from a guard; many deaths from beatings; assistance from a cousin; his wife contacting partisans, hoping to arrange his escape; rejecting one plan because many would be killed in retribution; observing the murder of a mother and baby by German guards; transfer in August to Babi Yar with ninety-nine others to disinter and burn the bodies from the 1941 mass killings; frequent suicides and people becoming insane; being assigned to inspect the corpses to remove gold jewelry and dental work; burying some gold when the guards looked away; frequent arrival of new workers; planning an escape with others; learning on August 18 they were to be killed the next day; escaping that night; traveling with others to his wife's uncle's home; his friends leaving; his wife and child joining him; leaving when the uncle expressed fear of exposure; and returning to Kiev after its liberation. Mr. T. discusses hierarchies in the camp and at Babi Yar; many atrocities; fourteen of 327 prisoners surviving the escape; pervasive postwar antisemitism; the difficulty of conveying his painful memories; and writing about them. He names many who were part of his experiences.

T., Zachar, 1912-
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1992
Interview Date
January 7, 1992.
Kiev (Ukraine)
2 copies: 3/4 in. master; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Zachar T. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3373). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
View in Yale University Library Catalog:
Record last modified: 2020-05-14 09:08:00
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