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Alexander B. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3374) interviewed by Nathan Beyrak and Anita Tarsi

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3374

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.

Author/Creator
B., Alexander, 1916-2010.
Published
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1992
Interview Date
June 26 and July 3, 1992.
Language
Hebrew
Copies
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.
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View in Yale University Library Catalog: http://hdl.handle.net/10079/bibid/4297468
Record last modified: 2016-08-11 09:07:00
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/hvt4297468