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Itzchak Y. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3813)

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3813

Videotape testimony of Itzchak Y., who was born in Białystok, Poland in 1926, the younger by sixteen years of two children. He recalls attending a Taḥkemoni school; his family's orthodoxy; participating in a Zionist youth group; attending summer camp in Platkownica in 1938; antisemitic harassment by children; Soviet occupation in September 1939; German invasion in June 1941; witnessing the main synagogue set on fire with hundreds of Jews inside; ghettoization; working at several jobs; his sister, who was blond, trading possessions outside the ghetto for food; hiding with his family during a mass deportation in February 1943; separation from them; learning his sister, her two children, and his mother had been deported; public hanging of a Jew who had resisted; witnessing the revenge killing of a Jew who had revealed other Jews during the deportation; and separation from his father during liquidation of the ghetto.
Mr. Y. tells of deportation to a work camp; transfer to Majdanek, then Bliżyn; slave labor in a fabric mill; hospitalization; recovery; assignment to the kitchen; transfer to Auschwitz/Birkenau in July 1944; assignment with other youths to a Polish children's barrack; fasting on Yom Kippur; transfer with the other children to Oranienburg, Sachsenhausen, then Ohrdruf; slave labor digging in nearby mountains; a German guard allowing him and a friend to eat from a plum tree; transfer to Neubrandenburg, then Ludwigslust in April 1945; being offered cooked human flesh by Soviet prisoners; liberation by United States troops the next day; returning to Poland seeking relatives; joining a kibbutz in Warsaw; preparing for emigration to Palestine in Sosnowiec; moving with the group to Graz; the Jewish Brigade organizing their illegal emigration from Marseille via Belgium; British interdiction; living on kibbutzim; military draft in 1950; and his career as a police officer. Mr. Y. notes he often felt disembodied and “outside of himself” during his worst experiences.

Y., Itzchak, 1926-
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1995
Interview Date
November 18 and 30 and December 22, 1995.
2 copies: 3/4 in. master; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Itzchak Y. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3813). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
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Record last modified: 2017-01-27 13:52:00
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