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Yosef S. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3792)

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3792

Videotape testimony of Yosef S., who was born in Łódź, Poland in 1921, one of four children. He recounts attending public school; participating in Hashomer Hatzair and a sports group; German invasion; one brother's escape to Lʹviv; a non-Jew smuggling him and his father to Warsaw to meet this brother and escape to the Soviet Union; his father's return to Łódź; attemptinig to enter the Soviet zone with his brother via Siedlce; capture by the Soviets; being sent back to Warsaw; returning to the Łódź ghetto; working as a carpenter, sabotaging furniture he built for the Germans; building sets for the ghetto theater; his brothers working for the Judenrat; one brother working in a bakery (he brought them extra bread); hiding valuables and photographs in a bunker, which they retrieved after the war; his sister's marriage (Rumkowski officiated); her son's birth; hiding them in their bunker; their deportation; pervasive starvation; and clearing the ghetto with a small group after its liquidation in 1944.

He recalls deportation to Oranienburg with his father and brothers; beatings and random shootings; working with Mendel Grossman; smuggling extra food to his family; public hangings of those caught smuggling food; transfer of his father and brothers to Königs Wusterhausen; joining them shortly thereafter; clearing bombing rubble in Berlin; the Kommandant keeping them from a death march (Grossman perished on the death march) and hiding among them; liberation by Soviet troops; the Kommandant's discovery and execution; returning to Łódź; his mother's return; his younger brother's emigration to Palestine; living in Feldafing displaced persons camp; marriage in 1948; and emigration to Israel in 1949. Mr. S. discusses theater and concerts in the ghetto; the work of Mendel Grossman as a clandestine ghetto photographer; Israelis' lack of interest in his experiences; and not sharing his experiences with his children lest he “traumatize” them. He shows drawings and photographs he had hidden and recovered, including those by Grossman.

S., Yosef, 1921-
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1995
Interview Date
August 24, 1995 and September 7, 1995.
Łódź (Poland)
Warsaw (Poland)
Siedlce (Poland)
Berlin (Germany)
2 copies: 3/4 in. master; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Yosef S. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3792). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.