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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 Dyatolovo) (Dzi︠a︡tlava) 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.
Belitsa (Hrodzenskai︠a︡ voblastsʹ, Belarus)
Vilnius (Lithuania)
Tula (Russia)
Łódź (Poland)
Slonim (Belarus)
Berlin (Germany)
Paris (France)
Marseille (France)
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.