Jan F. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3702) interviewed by Peter Salner and Ingrid Antalová
- Bratislava, Slovakia : Milan Šimečka Foundation, 1998
- Interview Date
- December 27, 1998.
- 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.
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.