Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Zeev S. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3386)

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3386

Videotape testimony of Zeev S., who was born in Sochaczew, Poland in 1921, the second of seven children. He recounts attending public and Hebrew schools; antisemitic harassment; the Jewish community's rich cultural life; caring for his chronically ill mother from age thirteen; participating in Hechalutz; German invasion; fleeing to Warsaw with his family; returning to Sochaczew; slave labor with his brother in the Kampinoska Forest; their escape to Soviet-occupied Białystok; returning home after three months; forced labor constructing an airport; deportation with his family to the Warsaw ghetto in February 1941; starvation; his mother ordering him and his brother to escape; their escape with a friend to a village where Poles hired them, knowing they were Jews; sending food to their family; learning his mother had died; hiding his father and young sister in a nearby city; his other siblings also working for Poles in the area; hiding in several locations; learning of his father's arrest; taking his place; and deportation to Skarżysko-Kamienna.

Mr. S. recalls slave labor in the munitions factory in Werke A; frequent beatings; hospitalization; assistance from friends; public hangings; his friends filling his quota, with approval from a Polish supervisor, when he was too weak to work; trading with Polish guards for extra food; celebrating Jewish holidays with his friends; transfer to Buchenwald in spring 1944; beatings and killings of those who had been in positions of authority at Skarżysko-Kamienna; transfer to Schlieben; slave labor in a munitions factory; transfer to Flössburg; bribing a German guard to protect them; a seventeen-day train transport to Mauthausen during which large numbers died; liberation by United States troops; assistance from the Red Cross; emigration to Palestine in 1946 via Bologna and Rome; marriage; and the births of four children. Mr. S. discusses the loss of his entire family; puzzlement over why he survived and others did not; the impossibility of conveying a complete story of all the murders he witnessed; lack of support, empathy, and interest from Israelis; leaving Israel in the 1960s to travel and to live in France, but maintaining his house in Israel; pervasive painful memories despite his family and economic success; and not wanting to be pitied, but understood.

S., Zeev, 1921-
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1992
Interview Date
August 8, August 13, and October 22, 1992.
Sochaczew (Poland)
Warsaw (Poland)
Kampinoska Forest (Poland)
Białystok (Poland)
Bologna (Italy)
Rome (Italy)
2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Zeev S. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3386). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
View in Yale University Library Catalog:
Record last modified: 2018-05-30 11:40:00
This page: