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Masha P. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3563)

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3563

Videotape testimony of Masha P., who was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1924, the younger of two daughters. She recalls a very happy childhood among a large extended family; attending a Bundist school; her parents' atheism; her sister moving to Białystok in 1939; attending a Bund summer camp; her father coming for her; German invasion the next day; anti-Jewish restrictions, including closing schools; working at a Bund sanitarium outside Warsaw; returning immediately prior to ghettoization; caring for young children in their building; obtaining food in a Bund kitchen; selling goods on the street; rampant deaths from starvation; illnesses resulting from horrendous sanitation; hiding with her parents during a round-up in July 1942; her mother's and father's captures; learning her father had escaped; his recapture days later (she never saw her parents again); hiding in an attic, sewers, then a bunker; joining the Jewish Fighting Organization (ZOB) after the round-up; her strong desire for revenge; preparing for the uprising with Marek Edelman's group; attacking German forces on April 18-19, 1942; moving several times including to Mila 18, where she met Mordecai Anielewicz; the heartbreak of having to abandon a wounded friend; and moving to Edelman's bunker, then to the sewers on May 9.

Ms. P. recounts exiting three days later to a pre-arranged truck; joining partisans in the forest; escaped Soviet prisoners of war guiding them; cutting electric lines and blowing up railroad tracks; meeting her future husband, who made sure she always had food; avoiding locals and Armia Krajowa (AK), fearing they would kill them; retreating to an island in a swamp; horrendous living conditions; becoming ill; being sent to Warsaw with a few others; living with Poles for a few months; visits from Yitzhak Zuckerman; moving several times; obtaining false papers through the Polish underground; Zuckerman arranging their participation in the 1944 Polish uprising with the AK as part of the FOB; hiding in bunkers after the uprising failed; her husband killing two Poles who had discovered them; liberation by Soviet troops; learning her sister had been killed and about the extermination camps; moving to Lublin, her husband fearing arrest for killing the Poles; assistance from the Red Cross; Zuckerman connecting them with Beriḥah; their transfer to Bucharest; receiving certificates to emigrate to Palestine eight months later; and their emigration in October 1945 with Abba Kovner. Ms. P. discusses Edelman's outstanding and unselfish leadership; camp survivors having less status in Israel than armed resistors; and continuing contact with friends from the ghetto fighters.

P., Masha, 1924-
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1993 and 1994
Interview Date
July 22 and 29, October 21, November 9 and 19, 1993, and February 1, 1994.
Soviet Union
Warsaw (Poland)
Lublin (Poland)
Bucharest (Romania)
2 copies: 3/4 in. master; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Masha P. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3563). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
View in Yale University Library Catalog:
Record last modified: 2018-05-30 11:28:00
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