Werner B. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3732) interviewed by Annette Leo and Eva Bauer
- Potsdam, Germany : Moses Mendelssohn Zentrum für europäisch-jüdische Studien, Universität Potsdam, 1996
- Interview Date
- October 13, 1996.
- 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.
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.