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Sima S. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3482) interviewed by Anita Tarsi and Nathan Beyrak,

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3482

Videotape testimony of Sima S., who was born in Vilna, Poland (presently Vilnius, Lithuania) in 1924, one of three children. She recounts attending Hebrew and Yiddish schools; a rich Jewish cultural environment; participating in drama, choir, and scouts; antisemitic harassment; Soviet occupation, then Lithuanian control in 1939; she and her family living with an uncle in Dokshytsy; their return to Vilnius; performing in a Yiddish theater; German invasion in June 1941; anti-Jewish restrictions; a round-up including her brother and father (she never saw them again); brief imprisonment; ghettoization; assignment sewing German uniforms; participating in cultural activities for youth, including a drama club and choir; her sister's hospitalization; bringing her home after hearing rumors of a round-up; delivering packages for the underground; deportation to Vivikonna; slave labor in the kitchen; assistance from Dutch prisoners of war; observing Kommandant Helmut Schnabel kill a woman prisoner; transfer to Vaivara, then Narwa; slave labor in the kitchen; encountering Hirsh Glick (he wrote many songs including the partisan anthem); singing to raise their morale; slave labor for Organization Todt; transfer to Kiviõli in 1944; slave labor felling trees and in a cement factory; observing the even worse condition of Soviet POWs; continuing help from the Dutch; Glick bringing her food for her birthday; assignment to a limestone quarry; and transfer to Goldfilz.

Ms. S. recalls ship transfer to Stutthof, then to Ochsenzoll; slave labor in an airplane factory; celebrating Hanukah; transfer to Bergen-Belsen; liberation by British troops, including Rabbi Leslie Hardman; transfer to the Bergen-Belsen displaced persons camp; a continuing relationship with Rabbi Hardman; working with child survivors; traveling to Vilnius; living with friends; marriage; leaving due to pervasive antisemitism; traveling to Łódź; contact with Beriḥah through Yitzhak Zuckerman; traveling with Beriḥah to Hofgeismar Displaced Persons Camp; assistance from the Joint and UNRRA; health problems during her pregnancy due to her experiences; her son's birth; moving to Münchberg Displaced Persons Camp; writing plays for performances in displaced persons camps; emigration to Israel in 1949; her second son's birth; testifying in Schnabel's war crimes trials in Germany; locating the Dutch man who had saved her life in the camp; and arranging his visit to Israel. Ms. S. discusses the camp hierarchies; native Israeli hostility to camp survivors; conversation about this to Gideon Hausner, prosecutor at the Eichmann trial; visits to Vilna; her books; and performing camp and ghetto songs. She shows photographs and sings many songs.

S., Sima, 1924-
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1992
Interview Date
September 15 and 22, October 8, November 4, 1992.
Soviet Union
Vilnius (Lithuania)
Dokshytsy (Belarus)
Łódź (Poland)
2 copies: 3/4 in. master; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Sima S. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3482). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
View in Yale University Library Catalog:
Record last modified: 2018-06-04 13:30:00
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