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Rachel S. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3540)

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3540

Videotape testimony of Rachel S., who was born in Belitsa, Poland in approximately 1919, one of five children. She recounts participating in a leftist youth movement; attending a Jewish seminary in Vilna; increasing antisemitism; Soviet occupation; marriage; her daughter's birth in 1940; living in Slonim; her husband's draft into the Soviet military; returning to Belitsa; German invasion; her brothers and father fleeing to the Soviet Union; Germans burning the town; forced transfer with her daughter, mother, and sister to the Zsheṭl (Dyatolovo) ghetto; constructing an underground tunnel in which they hid during round-ups; leaving when the roof cracked; smuggling themselves into Dvorets concentration camp; slave labor outside the camp; escaping after a warning from a Polish supervisor (she never saw her family again); hiding with a non-Jew, who helped them locate partisans; living with other non-combatants near a partisan camp; smuggling a group from the Lida ghetto to the forest camp; assisting with a child's birth; liberation by Soviet troops; informing the Soviets about a collaborator as a form of revenge (they hanged him); returning to Belitsa; traveling to Tula to find her father; returning with him; their move to Łódź; reunion with one brother; traveling to Berlin; learning another brother had been killed near Moscow; living in a displaced persons camp; hospitalization for six weeks; transfer to the Bergen-Belsen displaced persons camp by Beriḥah; assistance from the Joint and UNRRA; traveling to Marseille; emigration to Israel to join a brother; her father and another brother joining them; marriage in Paris; returning to Israel; and her son's birth in 1951. Ms. S. discusses not escaping because she cared for her daughter, mother, and sister; difficult conditions in the forests, including lice and starvation; and screaming in her sleep for many years and health problems resulting from her experiences.

S., Rachel, 1919?-
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1993
Interview Date
April 29, 1993 and May 6, 1993.
2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Rachel S. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3540). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.