Shaul S. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3488) interviewed by Anita Tarsi and Nathan Beyrak,
Videotape testimony of Shaul S., who was born in Cologne, Germany in 1924, the second of three children. He recounts his father's service in World War I; attending a Jewish school; his father purchasing property in the Netherlands; moving to Oosterbeek after Adolf Hitler's 1933 election; moving to Arnhem; joining Maccabi Hatzair; attending the Berlin Olympics in 1936; his maternal grandparents joining them after Kristallnacht; his grandparents' relocation to Westerbork as German refugees; their release to Amsterdam; working in his father's poultry business; moving to Amsterdam; German invasion in May 1940; returning to Arnhem; working on a farm in Brummen; meetings of his Zionist group in Dieren; increasing anti-Jewish restrictions; paying to be smuggled to Switzerland; the person he paid using the funds to have himself smuggled; leaving the farm when he was notified to appear for a work camp in June 1942; returning home; obtaining permission in Zutphen to postpone his deportation; building a forest bunker with three others and hiding there for a month; the property owner rescinding permission for them to stay; returning home; learning his family was in hiding; members of a hachsharah in Deventer arranging for him to be hidden; hiding with families in Voorst, then in a village with twenty other Jews; their arrest; imprisonment in Brummen; transfer to Arnhem; deportation to Westerbork in fall 1942; forced labor sorting produce and building fences; his group organizing a Hanukkah celebration for the children; the camp commander observing them and listing them as a protected group; hospitalization; and being warned the patients were to be deported.
Mr. S. recalls returning to his group; producing false papers for their group with assistance from halutzim in Amsterdam; his grandmother's arrival in January 1943; providing her with food and clothing; assignment to a work group in Apeldoorn loading valuables on trains; hiding and breaking as many items as possible; refusing an offer to escape and join his parents, fearing reprisals against his group; return to Westerbork; twice-weekly deportation trains; tensions between Dutch and German Jews; conflicts with the Jewish police; assignment to collect valuables in Barnevald; again refusing to escape to join his parents; returning to Westerbork; his group devising an escape plan (volunteering for deportation, entering, then sneaking off the deportation train, hiding, then escaping from Westerbork) in which the administration would think they had been deported; testing the plan and succeeding (seventeen escaped using this plan); traveling to Assen with assistance from the underground; hiding with non-Jews in Amsterdam, Hague, and Eindhoven; traveling to Brussels via Weert, then with the underground to Paris; traveling to Toulouse, then St. Girons; an arduous journey with a group of fifty that crossed the Pyrenees led by a French resistant; assistance from local farmers; arrest in Sort; imprisonment in Lérida; release with assistance from the Dutch consul; staying in Rocallaura; contacting the Joint in Barcelona which provided assistance; traveling to Tarragona, Montblanch, then Valls; brief imprisonment; traveling to Barcelona; emigration to Palestine via Madrid, Cádiz, and Tangiers; learning his family had survived; and his sisters and parents joining him. Mr. S. discusses the administrative and prisoner hierarchies in Westerbork; the pervasive fear of deportation; the successful escapes of seventeen using the technique he tested; and visiting the Netherlands and the area where he crossed the Pyrenees with his son.
- Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1992
- Interview Date
- September 23, October 30, November 4, and November 9, 1992.
Saint-Girons (Ariège, France)
- 2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
- Cite As
- Shaul S. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3488). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.