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

Oral History | Digitized | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3482

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    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)
    Cite As
    Sima S. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3482). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
    Other Authors/Editors
    Beyrak, Nathan, interviewer.
    Tarsi, Anita, interviewer.
    This testimony is in Hebrew.
    Related publication: Skurkovitz, Sima. Sima : Bericht einer jüdischen Frau aus Wilna über die Zeit des Naziterrors / Sima Skurkovitz. Leverkusen : C. Weihermüller, c2002.
    Related publication: Sima's Songs : Light in Nazi darkness / Skurkovitz, Sima. -- Waterfoot, Lancashire, United Kingdom : REvival Books, Ltd., c1993.

    Physical Details

    2 copies: 3/4 in. master; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
    Physical Description
    4 videorecordings (14 hr.) : col

    Keywords & Subjects

    Subjects (Local Yale)
    Antisemitism Prewar.
    Soviet occupation.
    Aid by non-Jews.
    Mutual aid.
    Postwar experiences.
    Postwar effects.
    Antisemitism Postwar.
    Holocaust survivors. Video tapes. Women. Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Personal narratives. World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, Jewish. Jewish ghettos. Jews--Lithuania--Vilnius. Jewish ghettos--Songs and music. Forced labor. World War, 1939-1945--Jewish resistance. Concentration camps--Songs and music. Concentration camps--Psychological aspects. Concentration camps--Sociological aspects. Prisoners of war--Soviet Union. Prisoners of war--Estonia. Prisoners of war--Netherlands. Quarries and quarrying. Concentration camp inmates--Religious life. Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Public opinion. Public opinion--Israel. War crime trials--Germany. Refugee camps. Poland. Vilnius (Lithuania) Dokshytsy (Belarus) Łódź (Poland) Oral histories (document genres) S., Sima,--1924- Glick, Hirsh,--1922-1944. Schnabel, Helmut. Hardman, Leslie H. Zuckerman, Yitzhak,--1915-1981. Hausner, Gideon,--1915-1990. Beriḥah (Organization) Vaivara (Concentration camp) Narwa (Concentration camp) Organisation Todt (Germany) Kiviõli (Concentration camp) Stutthof (Concentration camp) Bergen-Belsen (Concentration camp) DP-Camp Bergen-Belsen. United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Vivikonna (Concentration camp)

    Administrative Notes

    Link to Yale University Library Catalog:
    Record last modified:
    2018-06-04 13:30:00
    This page:

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