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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.
Ostrava (Czech Republic)
Čadca (Slovakia)
Ilava (Slovakia)
Zvolen (Slovakia)
Budapest (Hungary)
Mukacheve (Ukraine)
Wels (Austria)
Hörsching (Austria)
Melk (Austria)
Sopron (Hungary)
Bratislava (Slovakia)
Žilina (Slovakia)
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.
View in Yale University Library Catalog:
Record last modified: 2018-05-30 11:51:00
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