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Leib B. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3811)

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3811

Videotape testimony of Leib B., who was born in Kaunas, Lithuania in 1929. He recalls his parents' divorce in 1937; his mother's remarriage; Soviet occupation; German invasion in 1941; his biological father's killing as a member of the intelligentsia; ghettoization; assignment with other children to agricultural work; smuggling food into the ghetto; a Lithuanian policeman saving him from a round-up for mass killing; writing songs; caring for his younger sister; helping the ghetto underground; public hanging of an escapee; a Jewish policeman saving him and his family; transfer to Kauern-Schanzen; learning his stepbrother and sister had been killed in the children's round-up; arrival of his mother and stepfather; transfer to Landsberg with his step father; placement in a children's tent ten days later; transfer the next day to Dachau; separation from his stepfather upon transfer five days later to Auschwitz/Birkenau; placement in a children's barrack; tattooing a week later; he and other boys who had been communists receiving assistance from a communist prisoner; receiving extra food; arrival of non-Jewish, older Polish children accompanied by a priest; their daily prayers; playing chess with them; writing songs; organizing a concert for which the performers received extra food; brief hospitalization; and assistance from an Uzbek doctor.

Mr. B. recounts his assignments cleaning the camp, then retrieving items dropped by those en route to the gas chambers; exchanging some for extra food; reassignment unloading potatoes; recruitment as an underground courier; observing flames from the Sonderkommando revolt; a death march, then train transfer to Mauthausen in January 1945; treatment by a prisoner doctor for superficial gangrene (he still suffers from cold weather); daily “gymnastics” and executions; loss of their group spirit; a march to Gunskirchen; deteriorating conditions; receiving Red Cross packages in April; disappearance of German guards; escaping with a friend to Wels the day prior to liberation by United States troops; hospitalization; release; traveling to Linz; hospitalization; returning to Kaunas in December; reunion with his mother; learning his stepfather had committed suicide; writing songs about the war; attending school; sharing some of his experiences with his mother; both of them having nightmares; marriage; he and his wife completing medical school; pervasive antisemitism; continuing commitment to communism despite frequent government harassment; the births of his children; writing a book about his experiences; and emigration to Israel. Mr. B. discusses group relations and camp hierarchies; survival strategies and his state of mind; help from individuals and groups; and deaths of many friends and others.

B., Leib, 1929-
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1995
Interview Date
November 17, 24, and 30 and December 15 and 21, 1995.
Kaunas (Lithuania)
Wels (Austria)
Linz (Austria)
2 copies: 3/4 in. master; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Leib Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3811). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
View in Yale University Library Catalog:
Record last modified: 2018-06-04 13:28:00
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