Śimḥah R. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3439)
Videotape testimony of Simcha R., who was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1924, one of four children. He recounts his family's orthodoxy; attending Jewish schools; fights with Polish children; participating in Hashomer Hatzair and Akiba through which he met Mordechai Anielewicz in 1939; German invasion in September; a bomb killing his grandparents, brother, aunt, and wounding him; anti-Jewish restrictions; removing the star to travel to Radom for food; ghettoization; trading with Poles for food; joining relatives in Klwów; working for six months as a cowherd for a non-Jew; returning to the Warsaw ghetto; joining his parents in a kibbutz in Czerniaków; joining the Zionist underground; returning to the ghetto with his family; participating in the Jewish fighting organization, Z.O.B.; his family hiding with his mother's Polish friend in Sierierki; returning to participate in the Dror division of Z.O.B; meeting Yitzhak Zuckerman; serving under Hanoch Gutman and Marek Edelman; buying guns from Poles with funds he collected from wealthy Jews; preparing to fight rather than being rounded-up in April 1943; throwing grenades and Molotov cocktails at German troops entering the ghetto; retreating to bunkers; finding the body of Michał Klepfisz who had been in charge of grenades; observing the utter destruction when they left the bunker; being sent out of the ghetto with Zalman Friedrich to meet Zuckerman; he and Tovia Szajngut recruiting Polish sewer workers to organize an escape of a surviving ghetto fighters through the sewers, among them Pnina G. and Zivia Lubetkin; having to leave over a dozen behind; and reaching the forest.
Mr. R. recalls leaving with Zuckerman, Edelman, Lubetkin and others to organize in Warsaw; learning one sister had been killed in the uprising; recruiting his former neighbor, a Polish policeman to help Jews escape; utilizing funds from the Joint and Armia Krajowa to hide and feed Jews in Warsaw; incidents of near exposure, during one of which Helena B., a Pole, assisted; liaising with the forest partisans; visiting his parents and sister; joining Armia Krajowa as a non-Jew; fighting in the Polish Warsaw uprising; he and Jewish fighters joining Armia Ludowa; evacuation with Poles to Pruszków, then Suchedniów; obtaining false papers; traveling to Kraków; meetings with partisan leaders; hiding Jewish partisans in Grodzisk Mazowiecki; traveling to Lublin to meet with Władysław Gomulka, head of Armia Ludowa; Soviet liberation; returning to Warsaw; reunion with his parents and sister; traveling to Bucharest with a group for illegal emigration to Palestine; meeting Abba and Vitka Kovner; helping organize illegal emigration to Palestine; accompanying a group, including his parents and sister to Budapest; joining Kovner in Pontebba; planning revenge actions with Kovner and others; traveling to Munich; a failed mission to poison S.S. prisoners in Dachau; illegal emigration to Palestine via Paris and Marseille; and serving in the Israeli army. Mr. R. discusses many details of partisan activities and names many participants; his belief that Israelis thought survivors had done something wrong, so hiding he was a survivor until after the 1967 war; and not sharing his entire story with his children.
- Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1990, 1991, and 1994
- Interview Date
- December 18, 1990, April 1 and 9, 1991, March 24, 1994.
Radom (Województwo Mazowieckie, Poland)
Czerniaków (Warsaw, Poland)
Siekierki (Mazowieckie, Poland)
Pruszków (Województwo Mazowieckie, Poland)
Grodzisk Mazowiecki (Poland)
- 2 copies: 3/4 in. master; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
- Cite As
- Śimḥah R. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3439). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.