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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.
Sighet (Romania)
Uz︠h︡horod (Ukraine)
Budapest (Hungary)
Lübeck (Germany)
Malmö (Sweden)
Lärbro (Sweden)
Myckelby (Sweden)
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.
View in Yale University Library Catalog:
Record last modified: 2018-05-29 11:53:00
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