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Daniel A. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3750)

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3750

Videotape testimony of Daniel A., who was born in Vilna, Poland (presently Vilnius, Lithuania) in 1931, the youngest of five children. He recounts his family's affluence; attending a Hebrew school; Soviet occupation; his family being scheduled for deportation to Siberia; German invasion in June 1941; his sister Batya and her children living with them; his sister Dina working as a nurse in the Jewish hospital; ghettoization in September; Batya hiding gold in their basement; breaking valuables they could not bring with them so others could not have them; Dina obtaining a position for Batya at the hospital; Dina switching her documents with Batya so she could claim their father was her husband and her younger siblings her children, thus saving them from round-ups to mass killings; his parents hiding in a bunker in November 1941 during a round-up; Batya hiding Mr. A. and his siblings at the hospital; returning to find their parents gone; attending school, a distraction from hunger and cold; his sister Rivka's death; attending synagogue daily to say Kaddish for her; the rabbi inviting him to attend his yeshiva; finding strength through his Torah studies; a public hanging; learning ghetto songs; working in the locksmith shop; notice they were to be deported; Dina dressing him as a girl to keep him with her; pushing him to the men's group upon arrival at Kaiserwald; and slave labor building railroad tracks.

Mr. A. recalls obtaining valuables from newly arrived prisoners; trading with locals for extra food; throwing valuables over the fence to his sisters; weekly visits with them; hospitalization for an injury; assistance from two prisoner physicians; a German political prisoner saving him from selection for death; hiding for four weeks while his injury healed; a foreman assisting him avoid the children's selection; an SS pushing his hand into a saw; slow healing of his wound; transfer on Rosh ha-Shanah 1944 by ship to Stutthof; prisoners chanting Yom Kippur prayers en route; continuing contact with Dina; transfer to Kokoski; slave labor in the Schichau-Werke shipyard; smuggling potatoes back to camp to share with others; a German helping him avoid a fatal beating; a death march in January 1945; liberation by Soviet troops in May; Dina obtaining medication for him; observing a Soviet soldier killing Germans for revenge; their three-month journey to Vilnius; inability to obtain their family property; avoiding antisemitic violence with help from Poles; traveling to Łódź; joining Hashomer Hatzair; Beriḥah moving them several times; illegal emigration to Palestine in 1947; and his twenty-five year military career. Mr. A. discusses his loss of faith in God; the importance of his sister and friends to his survival; camp hierarchies; overcoming pervasive painful memories through hekping establish and build Israel and his family; testifying twice at war crime trials in Düsseldorf; sharing his experiences with his children; and a return trip to Poland in 1992.

A., Daniel, 1931-
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1995
Interview Date
April 17 and 23, May 3, and July 13, 1995.
Vilnius (Lithuania)
Łódź (Poland)
2 copies: 3/4 in. master; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Daniel A. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3750). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
View in Yale University Library Catalog:
Record last modified: 2018-06-04 13:28:00
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