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Lusia S. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3376)

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3376

Videotape testimony of Lusia S., who was born in Minsk, Belarus in 1922, the oldest of three children. She recounts her family fleeing from the Bolsheviks to Vilnius when she was three months old; their relative affluence; attending a Yiddish gymnasium; her father's participation in the Bund; her mother transferring her to a Polish school; spending summers in Nemenčinė and Pabradė; participating in Hashomer Hatzair and Gordonyah; university studies in pharmacology; violent antisemitic harassment by Endecjas; Soviet occupation in September 1939; Akiva members living with them and becoming close friends; briefly studying in Kaunas after the pharmacology faculty moved there; German invasion in June 1941; Lithuanian attacks on Jews; hiding her father and brothers; ghettoization; moving with the Akiva members to her grandmother's house in the ghetto area; slave labor at the Porubanek airport; her mother arranging her assignment to Baltoji Vokė; slave labor digging turf; smuggling food to her parents; attending a meeting with Abba Kovner and other resistants; hiding with her family during a round-up; arranging for her family to join her in Baltoji Vokė; hospitalization in the ghetto for a tonsillectomy; learning her family had been killed while she was gone; and returning to Baltoji Vokė, then back to the ghetto in spring 1943.

Ms. S. recounts her deportation with a group of ten friends to Kaiserwald in August 1943; their transfer for slave labor at Dünawerke; relatively humane treatment by the Kommandant; her privileged assignment to the hospital where she could help her friends; singing songs to raise their spirits; their transfer to Šiauliai ghetto, then the next day to Poniewież; slave labor building an airport; transfer to Stutthof, then Krsemieniewo; digging anti-tank trenches; assisting each other; a death march with a brief stop at Praust; one friend being killed en route; her friends preventing her from giving up; a Polish man pulling her away from the march, hiding her, then directing her to a Polish woman who hid, fed, and cared for her wounds; liberation by Soviet troops; an officer saving her from rape by Soviet soldiers; her rescuer bringing her to Kartuzy; working with the mayor; refraining from revenge, despite her desire for it; traveling to Łódź to join her camp friends; living on a hachshara; traveling as Greeks to Italy, organized by the Jewish brigade; illegal emigration by ship to Palestine; and marriage. Ms. S. discusses difficulty adjusting due to Israelis' inability to comprehend their experiences, and continuing close relationships with camp friends. She attributes her survival to help from non-Jews and her friends' support.

S., Lusia, 1922-
Interview Date
July 1, 10, 17, and 28, and August 7, 1992.
Minsk (Belarus)
Vilnius (Lithuania)
Pabradė (Lithuania)
Nemenčinė (Lithuania)
Kaunas (Lithuania)
Kartuzy (Poland)
Łódź (Poland)
2 copies: 3/4 in. master; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Lusia S. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3376). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
View in Yale University Library Catalog:
Record last modified: 2018-06-04 13:29:00
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