Josef B. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3544)
- Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1993
- Interview Date
- May 13, 1993.
- 2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
- Cite As
- Josef B. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3544). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
Videotape testimony of Josef B., who was born in 1919 in Wadowice, Poland, one of ten children. He recounts his family's successful jewelry business; their adherence to hasidism; attending public school (his classmate was the future Pope John Paul II), cheder, then a yeshiva; his bar mitzvah; rebelling against hasidism; being sent to live with an uncle in Piešt̕any in 1934; expulsion as a non-Slovak in 1937; returning home; moving to Bielsko; participating in Mizrahi; working in a textile factory; his father preventing his sister and her husband from emigrating to Palestine on orders from his rebbe; German invasion; Germans beating him to discover hidden valuables and compelling him to shave his brother's beard; deportation to Ottmuth with a brother; slave labor felling trees, then as a repairman; meeting his future wife; obtaining extra food for her; a German communist who assisted him; making a wedding ring that he kept throughout the war; his brother's selection and transfer; his transfer to Birkenau, then Blechhammer; slave labor in a factory; a privileged position repairing watches; a close relationship with Karl Demerer, the head prisoner; contact with Allied POWs; public executions; joining the camp underground (they killed spies and the man who had beaten his brother to death); a death march and train transfer to Gross-Rosen; his assignment gathering corpses; a death march and train transfer to Buchenwald; observing cannibalism; transfer to Dora; slave labor in a factory; sabotaging his work; transfer to Sachsenhausen/Oranienburg; liberation by United States troops, who offered him a gun to kill guards; being too weak to lift the gun; living in Schwerin, Lübeck, then the Bergen-Belsen displaced persons camp; reunion with his future wife; their marriage; illegal emigration to Palestine via Marseille; interdiction by the British; brief incarceration; living on a kibbutz; and his daughter's birth. Mr. B. notes only one sister survived and speaking in schools about his experiences.