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Israel B. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3785)

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3785

Videotape testimony of Israel B., who was born in Łódź, Poland in 1925, the first of two children. He recalls participating in Hashomer Hatzair; his father's death in 1936; his uncles paying for him to attend a Jewish Gymnasium; finding ways to help support his family, including singing in the main synagogue choir; summer vacations with his grandmother in Malech; German invasion in 1939; anti-Jewish restrictions; his mother removing his star and sending him to her brothers in Warsaw, hoping he would survive; learning they had left; joining his grandmother and other relatives in Soviet-occupied Malech; attending a Soviet school; receiving letters from his mother describing their suffering; sending her food packages; participating in communist youth activities; German invasion in 1941; escaping a round-up in October; hiding with assistance from non-Jews; joining his relatives in Bi︠a︡roza; ghettoization; slave labor for Organization Todt; building a hiding place with others; and remaining there for eight days during a mass killing.
Mr. R. recounts escaping to the Pruz︠h︡any ghetto; staying with relatives; forced labor in a German military kitchen; smuggling weapons into the ghetto; learning of a round-up; escaping to the forest; joining a Soviet partisan unit; ambushing Germans, blowing up trains and train tracks, and killing local collaborators; assisting Jews in family camps; liberation by Soviets in July 1944; enlisting in the Soviet military; participating in many battles, including liberation of Berlin in May 1945; he and his unit killing Germans in revenge for murdered relatives; expressing disapproval of Soviet soldiers who raped women resulting in accusations of being a traitor; a sentence of ten years; imprisonment in several locations; working in gold mines; release in 1952; living in Baranavichy; marriage; living in several locations; obtaining permission to return to Łódź; adding his mother's and brother's names to his father's tombstone; emigration to Israel in 1957; and working on a Holocaust memorial in Minsk for those killed in mass murders including his relatives from Malech.

Author/Creator
B., Israel, 1925-
Published
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1995
Interview Date
March 31, June 9, July 7, September 15, and November 3, 1995.
Language
Hebrew
Copies
2 copies: 3/4 in. master; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Israel B. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3785). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.