Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

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 Płatkownica 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.
Białystok (Poland)
Płatkownica (Poland)
Warsaw (Poland)
Sosnowiec (Województwo Śląskie, Poland)
Graz (Austria)
Marseille (France)
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.
View in Yale University Library Catalog:
Record last modified: 2018-05-30 11:50:00
This page: