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Shmuel B. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3520)

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3520

Videotape testimony of Shmuel B., who was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1918, one of two sons. He recalls his parents moving to Łódź in 1933; studying at university; antisemitic harassment; a close friendship with Yitzhak Zuckerman, who recruited him as an officer in Deror; joining his parents to head Deror in Łódź; German invasion in September 1939; fleeing east with friends in October; crossing the border at Małkinia to Slonim in the Soviet-occupied zone; teaching in Dzi︠a︡rėchyn; sending packages to his family; visiting a friend in Kobryn; German invasion in 1941; fleeing to Minsk to enlist in the Soviet military; arrest as a German spy; arrival of Germans; his assignment registering Jews since he spoke German; ghettoization; obtaining permission to return to Dzi︠a︡rėchyn; random killings of Jews; ghettoization; escaping with a group to the forests; joining partisans led by a Soviet army veteran; hearing shots from the mass killing in Dzi︠a︡rėchyn; welcoming escapees, including his future wife and Dr. Yekhiel Atlas; and Atlas forming his own group to revenge the killing of his family.

Mr. B. recounts he and his wife transferring to the Atlas group; other partisans acknowledging Atlas as a brilliant tactician; their revenge attack on Dzi︠a︡rėchyn; shooting those who participated in the Jewish mass killing at the mass killing site; organizing a family camp; antisemitic partisan and German attacks; moving to other forests; Atlas's death in combat; joining a large Jewish unit; his partisan wedding; transfer at the end of 1942 to a commander who was a non-Jew; antisemitic incidents within the unit; establishing a partisan hospital in an inaccessible swamp; bringing wounded there; liberation by Soviet troops in July 1944; enlisting in the Soviet military; being wounded three weeks later; pervasive antisemitism in Soviet hospitals; reunion with his wife in Kazloŭshchyna; moving to Hrodna, Vilnius, then Łódź; hearing of killing camps from survivors; learning where his brother was killed; traveling there to bury him; meeting Yitzhak Zuckerman; leading a group with Zivia Lubetkin and planning illegal emigration to Palestine; smuggling themselves to Italy; and he and his wife obtaining legal certificates to emigrate. Mr. B. discusses partisans and their life and pervasive painful memories.

Author/Creator
B., Shmuel, 1918-
Published
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1992
Interview Date
February 8 and March 3, 1992.
Locale
Belarus
Minsk
Dzi︠a︡rėchyn
Poland
Warsaw (Poland)
Łódź (Poland)
Małkinia (Poland)
Slonim (Belarus)
Dzi︠a︡rėchyn (Belarus)
Kobryn (Belarus)
Minsk (Belarus)
Kazloŭshchyna (Hrodzenskai︠a︡ voblastsʹ, Belarus)
Hrodna (Belarus)
Vilnius (Lithuania)
Palestine
Language
Hebrew
Copies
2 copies: 3/4 in. master; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Shmuel B. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3520). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.