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Yochanan K. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3775)

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3775

Videotape testimony of Yochanan K., who was born in a village near Nowy Wiśnicz, Poland, in 1923, the second of six children. He recounts his family's orthodoxy; attending cheder, school, and synagogue in Nowy Wiśnicz; antisemitic harassment; leaving school at thirteen to become a cattle merchant; German invasion; anti-Jewish restrictions; he and his older brother smuggling food to several ghettos; denouncement by a Jew; arrest and release; volunteering to enter Płaszów in his brother's place; slave labor laying rail lines; escaping after a severe beating; fleeing to the forest with his brother; assistance from Polish villagers; building a bunker at a farm house; smuggling himself into the Bochnia ghetto; locating relatives; learning the rest of his family had been killed in a mass shooting; beating a Jewish collaborator; escaping with his aunt and others to the forest; building a bunker; obtaining food and supplies from Poles, including Seventh Day Adventists; obtaining a revolver and ammunition; hiding other escaped Jews; his cousin's death; contact with Jewish partisans; building a bunker for another group; the Germans killing everyone in it; his brother being wounded; splitting into groups; learning everyone in his brother's group had been killed; building a bunker in a Pole's barn; liberation by Soviet troops; returning to Nowy Wiśnicz; disinterring friends' bodies for burial in the Jewish cemetery; traveling to Kraków; witnessing the execution of Amon Göth, Kommandant of Płaszów; arrest; changing his name to avoid a trial; returning to Nowy Wiśnicz; a gunfight with antisemitic Poles; fleeing to Germany in 1947; returning to Poland; emigration to Israel in November 1948; serving in the Arab-Israel war; locating a paternal aunt; traveling to Nowy Wiśnicz in 1964, hoping to find his family's bodies and rebury them in a Jewish cemetery (an unsuccessful effort); friends in Poland later notifying him the bodies had been found and transferred to a Jewish cemetery in Kraków; and erecting a gravestone memorializing his relatives and friends. Mr. K. discusses keeping a wartime diary and not sharing his story with his wife or children. He shows photographs.

K., Yochanan, 1923-
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1995
Interview Date
April 19, May 3, June 16, and July 13, 1995.
Nowy Wiśnicz (Poland)
Kraków (Poland)
2 copies: 3/4 in. master; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Yochanan K. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3775). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
View in Yale University Library Catalog:
Record last modified: 2018-06-04 13:27:00
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