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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 Kaunas, 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 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 Newcastle 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.
Kaunas (Lithuania)
Šakiai (Lithuania)
Bad Tölz (Germany)
Lübeck (Germany)
Newcastle upon Tyne (England)
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.
View in Yale University Library Catalog:
Record last modified: 2018-06-04 13:26:00
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