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Ya'akov L. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3777)

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3777

Videotape testimony of Ya'akov L., who was born in Kaunus, Lithuania in 1929. He recounts his sister's birth in 1936; his parents' and uncle's fabric businesses; their leftist views; visiting relatives in Šakiai; attending a Yiddish school and a yeshiva; his father's 1936 visit to Palestine where he purchased land and his mother's visit to her a brother in the United States; Soviet Occupation in 1939; studying in Germany; expropriation of his family's factory; German invasion in summer 1941; a Lithuanian protecting his family during Lithuanian killings immediately prior to German troops entering Kaunas; his father entrusting possessions to non-Jews only one of which returned them; ghettoization; living with his uncle's family; his uncle, a physician, providing medical services to Germans resulting in their protected status; a cousin in the Judenrat providing protected jobs for his parents; his father smuggling food; briefly attending an ORT school; assignment to a toy workshop; hiding during round-ups for mass killings; another uncle and his family being taken; hiding in an outdoor toilet during a children's round-up that included his sister and cousin; hiding with his family in a bunker during the ghetto's liquidation; deportation to Stutthof; separation from his mother and aunts; and continuing to Dachau.
Mr. L. recalls his privileged position in the kitchen providing extra food; his uncle's assignment as camp physician and his cousin's as gatekeeper; transfer with his father to forced factory labor; his uncle treating his wounds; reassignment to easier work in the garage; his father's hospitalization for typhus; visiting him; his death; receiving Red Cross packages; a death march; abandonment by the guards; liberation by United States troops; recuperating in Bad Tölz; an American-Jewish soldier contacting their relatives in England and the United States; assistance from the Joint; living with his uncle and cousin in Landsberg and Geretsried displaced persons camps; learning his mother and aunt had not survived; his uncle in England providing documents for his emigration; traveling from Lübeck to New Castle with assistance from UNRRA; joining a Hachshara; studying agricultural planning; marriage in 1957; attending university in California; emigration to Israel in 1958; the births of his children; his career as an agricultural meteorologist; and founding a school for that profession. Mr. L. discusses not wanting to “dig into” his past and sharing his experiences with his children when they began their families.

L., Ya'akov, 1929-
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1995
Interview Date
April 23, May 2, June 8, 10, and 15, and August 24, 1995.
2 copies: 3/4 in. master; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Ya'akov L. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3777). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
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Record last modified: 2016-11-28 10:02:00
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