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Menashe L. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3625)

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3625

Videotape testimony of Menashe L., who was born in Cluj, Romania in 1934, a twin. He recalls his family's affluence; attending cheder and a Neolog school; his father leading prayers in local synagogues; Hungarian occupation; being beaten by Arrow Cross youth; his father and uncles being drafted into Hungarian slave labor battalions; participating in Bene-ʻAḳiva; German invasion in spring 1944; his mother sending him and his twin sister to their grandparents' village; transfer to the Szilágysomlyó (Șimleu Silvaniei) ghetto; deportation to Auschwitz/Birkenau; he and his sister being separated from his grandmother and aunt when they were identified as twins; placement in a barrack where “experiments” were conducted on twins and others by Josef Mengele and his staff; his assignment to deliver food to the barrack; smuggling extra food for his sister and others; his sister's hospitalization resulting from an “experiment”; feigning a toothache to join her; convincing her to return to the barrack; his privileged assignment as a messenger, providing access to many parts of the camp; encountering his aunt; obtaining food and clothing from the Canada Kommando for those in his barrack and a special meal for Rosh ha-Shannah; celebrating Hanukkah; praying with his smuggled siddur; and observing the destruction of a crematorium during a prisoner uprising.
Mr. L. relates transfer with his group to theZigeunerlager (Gypsy Lager); giving sugar cubes to his aunt when she was leaving to which she attributed her and her friend's survival; abandonment by the guards; liberation by Soviet troops; traveling with a Hungarian doctor to Kraków, Chernivt︠s︡i, then Slutsk; returning home; reunion with an aunt and uncle; his father's return; participating in Bene-ʻAḳiva; his father's remarriage in 1949; living in a hachsharah in Bucharest, assisted by the Joint; emigration to Israel in 1951; serving in the Israeli army; his and his sister's marriages; the births of his children; and sharing his experiences with them. Mr. L. discusses the importance of being with his sister and his group to their survival; continuing nightmares; Israeli denigration of survivor experiences for some time; forming an organization for twin survivors; traveling to Poland in 1985; providing testimony in a trial of the ghetto chief and a mock trial of Mengele; and meeting his Soviet liberator at Yad Vashem. He shows photographs and documents.

L., Menashe, 1934-
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1993
Interview Date
June 10, August 2, October 29, and December 20, 1993.
Șimleu Silvaniei
Cluj-Napoca (Romania)
Kraków (Poland)
Chernivt︠s︡i (Ukraine)
Slutsk (Belarus)
Bucharest (Romania)
2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Menashe L. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3625). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
View in Yale University Library Catalog:
Record last modified: 2018-06-04 13:32:00
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