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Werner B. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3732) interviewed by Annette Leo and Eva Bauer

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3732

Videotape testimony of Werner B., who was born in Oberhausen, Germany in 1924. He recounts his family's move to Berlin in 1929; their strong German patriotism; his parents' divorce in 1932; living with his maternal grandmother in Pila; antisemitic harassment at school; his bar mitzvah; attending a Jewish boarding school in Szczecin; arrest of all the teachers on Kristallnacht; his mother's emigration with her second husband and daughter to Shanghai; joining a hachsharah; returning to Berlin; working in a factory; his father's suicide; planning to escape to Switzerland in 1943; traveling to Munich; arrest near the Swiss border; incarceration in Waldshut, then Karlsruhe; interrogations, beatings, and solitary confinement; transfer to prisons in Frankfurt, Bautzen, and Breslau; deportation to Auschwitz; slave labor doing construction; a high death rate; friendship with an influential German prisoner; reassignment through his friend, caring for dogs owned by high officials; working in Kommandant Höss's villa; Höss saving him from punishment when he was accused of stealing food; a death march to Pless in January 1945, then train transport to Mauthausen; transfer to Melk; slave labor constructing an underground factory; a brutal beating; transfer to Ebensee; observing cannibalism; liberation by United States troops; traveling to Linz, then Vienna; living in the Enns displaced persons camp supported by UNRRA; relocating to Munich; marriage; his daughter's birth; working for the Joint; joining his mother in San Francisco in 1948; his son's birth; military draft; divorce; returning to Germany in 1959; marriage; and the death of his second wife. Mr. B. discusses camp hierarchies; his loss of all opportunities, including education; his sense of not belonging in the United States and not even in Germany, despite “feeling German”; retaining his religious faith; recently visiting Auschwitz with German youth; and persistent painful memories and nightmares, particularly of Höss and the Auschwitz guard Kaduk. He shows documents.

Author/Creator
B., Werner, 1924-
Published
Potsdam, Germany : Moses Mendelssohn Zentrum für europäisch-jüdische Studien, Universität Potsdam, 1996
Interview Date
October 13, 1996.
Language
German
Copies
2 copies: Betacam SP dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Werner B. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3732). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
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View in Yale University Library Catalog: http://hdl.handle.net/10079/bibid/4298844
Record last modified: 2015-12-15 15:39:00
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/hvt4298844