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Ziuta G. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3810)

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3810

Videotape testimony of Ziuta G., who was born in Kraków, Poland in 1927, the younger of two children. She recounts her family's affluence; her father's architectural business; attending a Polish school; speaking and reading German at home; vacationing in Zakopane; an Austrian cousin living with them after the Anschluss; increasing tension in 1939; her parents sending her brother to England; vacationing in Muszyna in the summer of 1939; returning home in late August when her father was drafted; his rejection and return; German invasion on September 1; her father fleeing with his three brothers and a brother-in-law; his return; her expulsion from school; Germans living in their house; forced labor clearing snow; a non-Jewish friend taking over her father's business; her father continuing to manage it, thus earning a living; ghettoization; leaving their valuables with Ruzia, their non-Jewish maid; Ruzia bringing them food; her father continuing to work in his former business; her assignment to a factory outside the ghetto; smuggling food back to the ghetto; she and her parents having false documents as Poles; her father's younger brother returning and living with them; deportations beginning in 1942; her mother's brother protecting her mother from deportation (he was in the Jewish police); her father's assignment to help build Płaszów; moving there with her parents in March 1943; continuing to work in the factory outside Płaszów; Ruzia bringing her food to smuggle, which they shared with others; her father being severely beaten several times; camp kommandant Amon Goeth killing many, but sparing her and her mother once; her father bringing his sister's two children to Płaszów (they had been with their non-Jewish nanny); and deportation of most of the prisoners in late 1944.
She recalls those left being tasked to destroy the buildings and disinter and burn the bodies to destroy evidence of what occurred there; a forced march to Auschwitz/Birkenau on January 14, 1945; separation from her father and the children (the children survived); speaking to her father through the fence, the last time she saw him; a death march with her mother, then transport on open trains to Bergen-Belsen; filth, starvation, and a typhus epidemic; caring for her mother as her condition deteriorated; volunteering for transfer; slave labor in a factory in Venusberg; assistance from friends from Płaszów; hospitalization for typhus; her mother joining her; a sixteen-day train transport to Mauthausen via Gusen; Czechs bringing food during a stop; her mother's death en route; losing her will to live; assistance from the women her mother had enlisted to care for her; a woman giving birth in her barrack; liberation by United States troops on May 5; returning to Ruzia's home in June; reunion with friends and a cousin; learning her father had been killed; living with her uncle and aunt; contact from her brother in February 1946; marriage to her former boyfriend; visiting her brother in Liverpool in November; returning to her husband in Kraków ten months later; their son's birth in 1948; futile efforts to emigrate until their 1957 emigration to Israel; her daughter's birth; and her husband's death in 1989. Ms. G. discusses testifying at Goeth's trial; details of camp experiences; the reversal of values and her pervasive fear in camps; the impact of total starvation; and she and her husband sharing their experiences with their children. She shows documents and photographs.

Author/Creator
G., Ziuta, 1927-
Published
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1995 and 1996
Interview Date
November 17, November 23, 1995 and February 23, 1996.
Language
Polish
Copies
2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Ziuta G. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3810). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.