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Moshe S. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3384)

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3384

Videotape testimony of Moshe S., who was born in Švenčionys, Poland (presently Lithuania) in approximately 1924, one of six children. He recounts attending a Yiddish school; influence by the Bundist teachers; working with his father from the age of nine; Soviet occupation; German invasion in 1941; anti-Jewish restrictions; organizing a clandestine radio; ghettoization; hiding during a round-up (one sister and his grandmother were taken); another sister's attempt to join her boyfriend (she was killed); volunteering to work in a weapons storehouse; smuggling out guns and ammunition for his resistance group; an unsuccessful attempt with others to join the partisans; forced labor in an Organisation Todt lumber mill in Dūkštas; escaping with another of his group to Švenčionėliai, then back to his family in the ghetto; brief arrest by the Judenrat; Jewish officials from the Vilna ghetto arriving in March 1943 to bring the Švenčionys Jews there; escaping with a group, including one sister (he never saw the rest of his family again); arrest by Lithuanian police; transfer to the Vilna ghetto; escaping to the forest with a friend in May; joining Soviet partisans; being sent to the Vilna ghetto to recruit partisans; meeting with Yiżḣak Wittenberg, a leader of the ghetto resistance (Fareyniḳṭe parṭizaner organizatsye); the FPO decision to stay and fight in the ghetto; and returning to the partisans.
Mr. S. recalls another trip to recruit partisans in Vilna; arrest by the Judenrat; meeting with Jacob Gens, head of the Judenrat; Gens and his deputy, Salk Dessler giving him permission to leave with a small group; joining Fëdor Markov's Voroshilov group; Markov sending him back to the Vilna ghetto to relay a letter to Wittenberg; traveling via Pabradė and Naujoji Vilnia; Sonia Madejsker taking him to meet with FPO leaders Jospeh Glazman, Nisan Reznik, and others; learning Wittenberg had surrendered to the Germans; meeting next with Gens and Dessler; arranging a meeting of Gens with Abba Kovner and other FPO leaders; escaping with some twenty others, including his sister and Alexander Bogen; attacks by Lithuanian police en route; meeting Glazman's partisan group, Nekamah; Markov dissolving the group to form the Komsomolski brigade; leaving after hearing antisemtic remarks; escaping from German attacks; traveling to Belarus; joining a partisan unit (he was the only Jew); many casualties in battles with Germans; liberation by Soviet troops in May 1944; traveling to Pleshchenit︠s︡y; hospitalization in Minsk for typhus; draft into the Soviet military; his sister's visit; assignments in Białystok and Moscow; discharge; illegal emigration to Palestine via Czechoslovakia and France in 1946; incarceration on Cyprus; release in 1949; and serving in the Israeli military. Mr. S. discusses his respect for Gens's efforts to save the ghetto population; factions within the FPO and partisans; and his book about his experiences.

S., Moshe, 1924?-
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1993
Interview Date
May 2, 1993.
2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Moshe S. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3384). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
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Record last modified: 2016-04-25 10:55:00
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