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Jan F. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3702) interviewed by Peter Salner and Ingrid Antalová

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3702

Videotape testimony of Jan F., who was born in Trnava, Czechoslovakia (presently Slovakia) in 1930, an only child. He recalls his family's assimilated lifestyle; attending public school in Piešt̕any; passing the admissions exams for gymnasium, but finding Jews were barred; attending a Jewish school; deportation of his mother's family in 1942 by the Hlinka guard; moving to Bratislava; hiding with non-Jews; composing crossword puzzles, for which he was paid; his father arranging for their conversion to evangelical Christianity in August; attending an evangelic school; hiding during the Slovak uprising in 1944; his father leaving their hiding place and not returning (he never saw him again); round-up with his mother in October; deportation to Sered; his mother's deportation (he never saw her again); deportation to Sachsenhausen in November, to Buchenwald, then to Berga ten days later; his split-second decision to step forward when those under sixteen were commanded to do so, which ultimately saved his life; assignment of the group to the kitchen; slave labor peeling vegetables, which they could not eat, for twelve hours daily; saying evangelic prayers after his shift; risking his life to occasionally eat a piece of the vegetables; a death march in April 1945; German civilians harassing them en route; eating grass and tree buds; arrival at Manětín with 250 of the 1,200 prisoners; local Czechs bringing them food; continuing until only twenty prisoners remained; escaping into a forest with a friend; entering Manětín after the Germans were disarmed; traveling to Plzeň, Prague, then Trnava; not finding any surviving relatives; living with a woman who had hidden him in Bratislava; supporting himself composing crossword puzzles; completing training as an architect; marriage to a Catholic; and the births of two daughters. Mr. F. discusses never having a strong Jewish identity; sharing his story with his children and grandchildren; and attributing his survival to his youth and to luck. He shows photographs and documents.

Author/Creator
F., Jan, 1930-
Published
Bratislava, Slovakia : Milan Šimečka Foundation, 1998
Interview Date
December 27, 1998.
Language
Slovak
Copies
3 copies: 1/2 in. VHS master; Betacam SP submaster; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Jan F. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3702). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.