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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.

B., Shmuel, 1918-
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1992
Interview Date
February 8 and March 3, 1992.
Warsaw (Poland)
Łódź (Poland)
Małkinia (Poland)
Slonim (Belarus)
Dzi︠a︡rėchyn (Belarus)
Kobryn (Belarus)
Minsk (Belarus)
Kazloŭshchyna (Hrodzenskai︠a︡ voblastsʹ, Belarus)
Hrodna (Belarus)
Vilnius (Lithuania)
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.