Daniel A. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3750)
- Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1994
- Interview Date
- April 17 and 23, May 3, and July 13, 1995.
- 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.
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; his sister 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 claimed 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 him and the others 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 sister; weekly visits with her; 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 his sister; 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; his sister 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 building the state 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.