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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.

Author/Creator
B., Leib, 1929-
Published
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1995
Interview Date
November 17, 24, and 30 and December 15 and 21, 1995.
Locale
Lithuania
Kaunas (Lithuania)
Wels (Austria)
Linz (Austria)
Language
Hebrew
Copies
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: http://hdl.handle.net/10079/bibid/4383601
Record last modified: 2018-06-04 13:28:00
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/hvt4383601