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Dov H. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3828)

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3828

Videotape testimony of Dov H., who was born in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in 1913, one of six children in an orthodox family. He recounts attending cheder, yeshivas in Khust and Galanta, then a Jewish gymnasium in Brno; night work in a factory to support himself; attending an agricultural school in Tábor to prepare for emigration to Palestine; participating in Hechalutz; graduation in 1932; military draft; continuing contact with Hechalutz; discharge in 1936; returning home briefly; working in Prague; training at a kibbutz in Plzeň; military recall in 1938; his posting in Košice; his unit disbanding; returning to Prague; German invasion; moving to a Hechalutz training center; being ordered to report to the Germans in Prague; release after two weeks; helping to organize illegal emigration to Palestine and Zionist agricultural centers; working with Jacob Edelstein, a Zionist leader; arranging with him to move his Hechalutz groups to Theresienstadt; being housed together; seeking labor assignments to gain knowledge to benefit the group; their Sabbath and holiday observations; marriage in 1943; the arrival and departure of 1,200 children from Białystok; meetings with Edelstein, now head of the Aeltestenrat in Theresienstadt, and Fredy Hirsch; sham improvements for a Red Cross visit and propaganda film; deportation with his group by passenger train to Auschwitz/Birkenau; their decision to protect each other; a German shooting his seat mate; slave labor digging a trench; brutal killing prisoners; his group rescuing children who had hidden in latrines; encountering his brother who gave him food and clothing, and advised him to take any transport out; and the Sonderkommando uprising.
Mr. H. recalls transfer by freight train to Kaufering; deaths en route; encountering two sisters who gave him extra food; slave labor in a cement factory with French and Soviet POWs, then in a nearby village; locals giving them food; sharing it with sick prisoners; being caught; evading punishment by switching shirts with a dead prisoner; hospitalization for typhus; friends retrieving him from a pile of corpses, then hiding him; a death march to Dachau, then another march; abandonment by the guards; liberation by United States troops; hospitalization in Bad Tölz, then Munich; traveling to České Budějovice, then Prague; reunion with his wife; organizing Hechalutz; returning home for a reunion with two brothers and two sisters; returning with them to Prague; and emigration to Palestine in 1946. Mr. H. discusses prisoner hierarchies and organizations in Theresienstadt; his drive to survive even when friends committed suicide; creating a memorial in 1949 in the Theresienstadt cemetery with a tree he had planted as a prisoner; pervasive painful memories; not discussing them due to Israelis' skepticism, even with his wife and children; and the pain of reliving his experiences when he began to share them. He shows photographs and documents.

Author/Creator
H., Dov, 1913-
Published
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1996
Interview Date
February 22, March 7, and March 14, 1996.
Locale
Germany
Israel
Austria
Khust (Ukraine)
Galanta (Slovakia)
Brno (Czech Republic)
Tábor (Jihočeský kraj, Czech Republic)
Prague (Czech Republic)
Plzeň (Czech Republic)
České Budějovice (Czech Republic)
Košice (Slovakia)
Bad Tölz (Germany)
Munich (Germany)
Palestine
Language
Hebrew
Copies
2 copies: 3/4 in. master; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Dov H. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3828). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
 
View in Yale University Library Catalog: http://hdl.handle.net/10079/bibid/4383702
Record last modified: 2018-05-29 11:42:00
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/hvt4383702