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Roman F. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3799)

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3799

Videotape testimony of Roman F., who was born in Bielsko-Biała, Poland in 1928, an only child. He recounts his father's sense of both Polish and Jewish identity (he served in World War I); attending a Jewish school; participating in Maccabi; attending a Betar summer camp; traveling to Chełm immediately before the German invasion, then to to Zdolbunov; Soviet occupation; moving to Lʹviv; attending a Soviet school; obtaining false papers as Protestants; German invasion; his mother working as a secretary and his father on a farm; fleeing to Kraków when their discovery was imminent; continuing to live as non-Jews; working as a delivery boy; a village farmer hiding him and his parents for several months; returning to Kraków; smuggling his grandparents out of the ghetto to his aunt in Słomniki (they were all killed); arrest with his parents as Jews in 1943; transfer to the ghetto, then his father's to Płaszów; watching his mother being beaten to death by a German, William Kunde; slave labor in a factory; escaping from being shot by the Kommandant, Amon Goeth; transfer with his father to Starachowice; his father's death; being wounded while escaping with a group; finding partisans; leaving to clean his wound; and hearing the partisans kill the other escapees.

Mr. F. recalls sneaking back into Starachowice; transfer to Auschwitz/Birkenau; placement next to the Zigeunerlager (Gypsy Lager); total disappearance of the Romanies; volunteering as a welder; transfer to a weapons factory in Zgoda (Świętochłowice); a Polish prisoner teaching him to operate the machinery, which saved his life; an influential prisoner raping him and taking his hat; taking another prisoner's hat to save himself (loss of one's hat resulted in being killed); transfer to Mauthausen, then to a factory in Vienna; a death march back to Mauthausen; collapsing; liberation by United States troops; hospitalization; assistance from the Red Cross; traveling to Bratislava; hospitalization; living in Starý Smokovec and Prague; assistance from a Jewish family; returning to Poland; reunion with his uncle; emigration to Israel in 1957; and serving in the 1967 Arab-Israel war. Mr. F. describes testifying at the Munich trial of Kunde; traveling to Poland to reward two Poles who had helped him; visiting Świętochłowice in 1990; and writing a book about his experiences.

F., Roman, 1928-
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1995
Interview Date
September 14 and September 21, 1995.
Bielsko-Biała (Poland)
Chełm (Lublin, Poland)
Zdolbuniv (Ukraine)
Lʹviv (Ukraine)
Kraków (Poland)
Słomniki (Poland)
Bratislava (Slovakia)
Starý Smokovec (Slovakia)
Prague (Czech Republic)
2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Roman F. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3799). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
View in Yale University Library Catalog:
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 11:19:00
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