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Binjamin M. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3553)

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3553

Videotape testimony of Binjamin M., who was born in Włocławek, Poland in 1917, the oldest of three children. He recounts a happy childhood in an affluent, assimilated home; participating in Hashomer Hatzair; increasing antisemitism in the 1930s; studying engineering in Warsaw; German invasion; fleeing to Brest in the Soviet Union; corresponding with his family; assistance from a family friend; working as an electrician; his brother's arrival; moving to Lʹviv to work as an electrical engineer; arrest with his brother as non-Soviet citizens; using his influence to have his brother sent home, hoping to save him; deportation to a Soviet camp near Rybinsk; slave labor clearing trees; many deaths from disease and starvation; transfer to another camp; improved conditions after obtaining a privileged job as an electrical engineer; transfer to a cement factory; assistance from the Russian factory director; severe burns from an electrical fire; hospitalization; a prisoner doctor saving his life; segregation of the Polish prisoners after German invasion in June 1941; harsh slave labor; release after a Polish-Soviet agreement; traveling to Arzamas, then Vladikavkaz; living with a Jewish family; moving to Baku, then Krasnovodsk (presently Turkmenbashy) to enlist in the Polish military; an antisemitic Polish officer preventing his enlistment; traveling to Samarqand; enlisting in the Polish military in May 1943; assignment as an officer due to his engineering skills; learning of the mass murder of the Jews in Berdychiv; fighting through Poland to the outskirts of Berlin; being wounded; hospitalization in Kraków; reunion with his sister (his parents and brother had been killed); traveling to Warsaw; marriage in 1946; and emigration to Palestine. Mr. M. discusses the power of criminals in Soviet camps and the negative perception and reception of Holocaust survivors in Israel.

M., Binjamin, 1917-
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1993
Interview Date
July 1 and 2, 1993.
2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Binjamin M. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3553). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
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Record last modified: 2015-05-11 13:27:00
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