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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.
Soviet Union
Švenčionys (Lithuania)
Dūkštas (Ignalinos rajonas, Lithuania)
Švenčionėliai (Lithuania)
Pabradė (Lithuania)
Naujoji Vilnia (Vilnius, Lithuania)
Pleshchenit︠s︡y (Belarus)
Minsk (Belarus)
Białystok (Poland)
Moscow (Russia)
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.
View in Yale University Library Catalog:
Record last modified: 2018-06-04 13:26:00
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