Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Chanan A. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3821)

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3821

Videotape testimony of Chanan A., who was born in Sighet, Romania in 1927, the youngest of four children in a wealthy, religious family. He recounts his father's leadership role in the Jewish community; attending a Romanian school; his sister's marriage; Hungarian occupation in 1940; attending a Jewish high school in Budapest, then in Uz︠h︡horod; German occupation in March 1944; immediately returning home; hiding family valuables in their cellar and with non-Jewish friends; refusing their non-Jewish maid's offer to hide the children, wanting to stay together; ghettoization; assistance from his non-Jewish girlfriend; deportation with his family to Auschwitz/Birkenau in May; separation from his parents, grandparents, sisters, and their children; remaining with his brother, brother-in-law, and cousin; assistance from a veteran prisoner in keeping his shoes which helped him survive; transfer to Buna/Monowitz; separation with his cousin from his brother and brother-in-law; slave labor producing cement blocks; visits with his brother and brother-in-law; increasing starvation; hospitalization for a work injury; family visits; sharing extra food with his brother; a privileged assignment assisting a carpenter making toys for German children; transfer in September to Laurahütte; assistance from prisoners from Sighet; public hangings; transfer two months later to Hannover, Mauthausen, Gusen, then back to Hannover in January 1945; slave labor in a munitions factory; and a German civilian worker leaving him food.
He recalls a death march to Bergen-Belsen; standing on line to pray with tefillin to ask God for his family's survival; his cousin saving him from being placed with corpses; observing cannibalism; liberation by British troops; hospitalization for two months; transfer to Lübeck, then Malmö; seeing normal life causing him to want revenge; recuperating from tuberculosis in Lärbro; assistance from the Joint; joining a Hechalutz survivor group in Myckelby in October 1945; meeting his future wife; learning his sister, brother-in-law, and cousin had survived; hospitalization in Stockholm; emigration with his group to Palestine via Marseille in May 1946; lack of sympathy and interest from native Israelis; marriage; not sharing their experiences; the death of their daughter eight days after her birth; his wife's one year hospitalization for tuberculosis; the births of their two daughters; his wife's books about the Holocaust; his diplomatic positon in Hungary in which he assisted Holocaust survivors; forming a bond with the German ambassador (he had saved his Jewish wife); testifying at war crime trials in Germany; his decision not to in the future, believing justice was not done; visiting Bergen-Belsen with his daughter; and a three year posting in Sweden. Mr. A. discusses relations between groups in the camps; his state of mind; losing his faith in God; trying to protect his children from his past; attributing his survival to help from many; continuing close relations with the Myckelby group; and the kindness and generosity of the Swedes.

A., Chanan, 1927-
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1996
Interview Date
January 11, 19, and 25, and February 2, 1996.
2 copies: 3/4 in. master; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Chanan A. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3821). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
Expand all
View in Yale University Library Catalog:
Record last modified: 2017-01-27 13:53:00
This page: