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Mira V. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3536)

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3536

Videotape testimony of Mira V., who was born in Vilna, Poland (presently Vilnius, Lithuania) in 1919, the older of two children. She recounts her family's affluence; summering at their vacation home in Nemenčinė; attending a Bund, then another Yiddish school; participating in Hashomer Hatzair; attending lectures by Hayyim Nahman Bialik and Vladimir Jabotinsky; her father's dismissal from his government job in 1938 due to increasing antisemitisim; living on a hachsharah in Częstochowa; German invasion in 1939; fleeing to Kovelʹ; Soviet occupation; returning home; German invasion; anti-Jewish restrictions; learning of her father's murder in Ponary from a non-Jewish friend who witnessed it; moving to the ghetto in September; hiding with her mother and sister during a round-up, assisted by a Jewish policeman; her sister's friend, who had a life-saving certificate, marrying her sister to save the family; hiding her mother in a bunker (they were discovered); an unsuccessful attempt to bribe Salk Dessler, a Judenrat official, to save her mother; doing agricultural work outside the ghetto; her civilian supervisor taking her to work as a domestic in his home; a Polish friend giving her food; bringing extra food to her sister; her sister's husband being beaten to death; joining the ghetto resistance (Fareyniḳṭe parṭizaner organizatsye); learning to shoot; working with Abba Kovner, Yiżḣak Wittenburg, Joseph Glazman, and others; and meetings with Jacob Gens and partisan couriers Ḥaiḳah Grosman and Tossia Altman.
Ms. V. recalls failing to convince her sister to join her in escaping to the forest; assistance from farmers; joining Glazman's Nekamah group in Fëdor Markov's Voroshilov partisans which included Nisan Reznik; confiscation of Jewish partisans' possessions; learning Jewish partisans were murdered; leaving to join Lithuanian partisans; caring for the wounded; inferior treatment of Jews; liberation by Soviet troops; transfer to Švenčionys, then Nemenčinė; walking to Vilnius; reunion with Jewish partisan friends; learning her sister had not survived; assistance from the Joint; searching for relatives; pervasive antisemitism; traveling to Białystok, Hrodna, then Bucharest; joining Kovner's revenge group; traveling to Italy; meeting the Jewish brigade; traveling to Munich, then Nuremberg as a member of the revenge group planning to poison incarcerated German prisoners of war; moving between Munich, Frankfurt, and Berlin; fleeing to Paris after the mission; and emigration to Palestine. Ms. V. discusses others who were in the forest with her including Alexander Bogen and Abraham Sutzkever; not sharing her experiences, even with her husband and children, until 1985; continuing antipathy toward Germans and Germany; experiences she will not share; and continuing nightmares.

V., Mira, 1919-
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1993
Interview Date
March 12 and 28, 1993.
2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Mira V. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3536). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
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Record last modified: 2016-04-25 11:12:00
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