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Moshe R. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3566)

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3566

Videotape testimony of Moshe R., who was born in Švenčionys, Lithuania in 1923, the oldest of five children. He recounts his relatively affluent family; attending a Jewish school, then engineering school in Vilnius in 1939; participating in Hechalutz; Soviet occupation; attending a Russian school; German invasion; round-up of his father and brother for work (they never returned); ghettoization; his cousin Yitzhak Arad living with them; forced labor sorting weapons; a German soldier encouraging his group to escape; escaping with Arad and others to the Glubokoye ghetto; Arad's sister arranging their return to the Švenčionys ghetto; rejoining his mother, brother, and sister; deportation to Švenčionėliai, then the Vilna ghetto; joining the Jewish police in order to pass partisans into and out of the ghetto; escaping with a group to the forests; joining Fëdor Markov's Voroshilov partisan unit; leading raids on Belorussian collaborators and German soldiers; ambushing a German unit; and interrogating the officer, then killing him and the other German prisoners.

Mr. R. recalls returning to the Vilna ghetto with Alexander Bogen and others to retrieve doctors and his family; meetings with Abba Kovner, the ghetto resistance, Fareyniḳṭe parṭizaner organizatsye, and Jacob Gens; Kovner refusing permission for his mother and brother to leave; Germans killing his girlfriend, sister, and others in another group he had helped escape from the ghetto; destroying a village of collaborators; battling antisemitic Polish partisans; an assignment bringing high-ranking wounded Soviet officers across front lines to the Soviet zone; bringing food to a Jewish partisan camp; attacking a German garrison in Ashmi︠a︡ny; liberation by Soviet troops; draft into the Red Army; serving in many locations, including Saratov, Vilnius, Warsaw, and Kielce; the liberation of Berlin; searching for family in Warsaw and Łódź; traveling with the Jewish Brigade to Budapest and Italy, including Nonantola and Santa Maria; a cousin in the United States Navy visiting and inviting him to the U.S.; illegal emigration to Palestine; interdiction by the British; being freed by the Palmaḥ; joining the Haganah; military draft; being wounded in the 1948 war; and marriage.

R., Moshe, 1923-
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1993
Interview Date
July 25, August 1, and August 19, 1993.
Švenčionys (Lithuania)
Vilnius (Lithuania)
Hlybokae (Belarus)
Švenčionėliai (Lithuania)
Ashmi︠a︡ny (Belarus)
Saratov (Russia)
Warsaw (Poland)
Kielce (Poland)
Berlin (Germany)
Łódź (Poland)
Budapest (Hungary)
Nonantola (Italy)
Santa Maria di Leuca, Cape (Italy)
2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Moshe R. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3566). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
View in Yale University Library Catalog:
Record last modified: 2018-06-04 13:28:00
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