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Yakov P. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3577) interviewed by Nathan Beyrak

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3577

Videotape testimony of Yakov P., who was born in Ostrava, Czechoslovakia in 1930, an only child. He recounts living in Čadca; attending Jewish school; participating in Gordonyah; his mother's arrest as a communist; he and his father visiting her in prison at Ilava; his father securing her release; her escape to Budapest; anti-Jewish restrictions; being warned of deportations in 1942; their relatives ignoring the warning (they were all killed); escaping with his father to Zvolen; illegally entering Hungary when his father bribed a train engineer; joining his mother in Budapest; being hidden in an institution for developmentally delayed children (his parents hid elsewhere); assisting the caregivers who knew he was Jewish; visits from his parents; his father instructing him in early 1943 to report to the police, due to a change in the laws; arrest; release to his Hungarian grandfather as a legal foreign citizen; living with his grandparents in Mukacheve beginning in April 1943; attending school; German invasion in March 1944; arrest, interrogations and beatings; deportation with his grandparents to Auschwitz/Birkenau in May; separation from them upon arrival; transfer to a children's block; assignment as a translator for a doctor becasue he spoke many languages; the doctor hiding him during selections; and hospitalization.
Mr. P. recalls transfer to unofficially join his childhood caregiver, who was a privileged prisoner in Canada Kommando; having no official work assignment; the prisoners assigning him to smuggle goods to civilian workers in exchange for food; rebuffing sexual advances by high prisoner officials; learning of the prisoner revolt; transfer to Oranienburg; a dog attacking him; hospitalization for three months; treatment by non-Jewish prisoner doctors; transfer to Mauthausen in January 1945; a death march to Gunskirchen; observing corpses mutilated due to cannibalism; abandonment by the guards; walking to Wels; obtaining food from empty houses; transfer to a hospital in Hörsching by United States troops; returning to Budapest six weeks later via Melk and Sopron; learning his mother had been killed escaping from Soviet soldiers who were trying to rape her one day after liberation; reunion with his father in Bratislava; their return to Čadca; working in his father's law firm; attending gymnasium in Žilina; antisemitic harassment; joining Gordonyah, intending to emigrate to Israel; assisting others do so for a year; and his emigration in 1949. Mr. P. notes his loss of belief in God due to his experiences.

P., Yakov, 1930-
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1993
Interview Date
November 5, November 23, December 7, and December 20, 1993.
2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Yakov P. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3577). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
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Record last modified: 2015-05-18 13:04:00
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