Alexander B. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3374) interviewed by Nathan Beyrak and Anita Tarsi
- Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1992
- Interview Date
- June 26 and July 3, 1992.
- 2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
- Cite As
- Alexander B. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3374). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
Videotape testimony of Alexander B., who was born in Vilna, Russia (presently Vilnius, Lithuania), in 1916. He recounts his friendship with Abraham Sutzkever; studying art; German invasion; fleeing east with his wife; German troops overtaking them; traveling back to Vilnius for nine months via Lyubashevo, Svirʹ and other villages; witnessing round-ups of local Jews; entering the Vilna ghetto; helping to smuggle food into the ghetto; joining an uncle in Švenčionys; ghettoization; working as a shoemaker, and a translator for the Judenrat; transfer back to the Vilna ghetto when the Švenčionys ghetto was liquidated; joining the Fareyniḳṭe parṭizaner organizatsye (FPO); meetings with Yitzhak Wittenberg and Abba Kovner; escaping with Moshe Shutan to join partisans in the Naroch forest; forming a Jewish unit, Nekama (Vengeance) under Soviet General Fydor Markov; Markov sending him with Yitzhak Arad and Yashike Gertman to bring more fighters from the ghetto; meetings with Kovner, Abraham Chwojnik, Chyena Borowska, Sonia Madeysker, and Judenrat officials Jakob Gens and Salk Dessler; discussions of rationales for escaping to the forest or remaining in the ghetto to fight; and bringing others to the forest, including his wife.
Mr. B. recalls tensions between Soviet and Jewish partisans; Soviet commanders disbanding Jewish units; obtaining weapons in villages; battles with German and Lithuanian soldiers; constructing an airstrip for supply drops from the Soviets; joining the Voroshilov brigade; liberation by Soviet troops; encounters with antisemitic Soviet officers; working at a cultural center in Vileyka; returning to Vilnius; completing his art degree; moving to Łódź; Polish officials confiscating his drawings (they were later returned); and emigration with his wife to Israel in 1951. Mr. B. discusses sketching as much as he could during the war; burying much of his work in the forest (he never found them); his art work as a historical record; redrawing and painting previous works in Israel; organizing a partisan conference in 1956; an exhibit of his art by the Polish Ministry of Culture; and donating much of his work to Yad Vashem and Lohamei ha-Ghettaot, some of which has been published. He shows some of his drawings.