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Mickal E. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3833)

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3833

Videotape testimony of Mikhal E., who was born in Ostrava, Czechoslovakia (presently Czech Republic) in 1926, the younger of two children. She recounts her family's assimilated life style; attending a Czech school; cordial relations with non-Jews; participating in a Zionist youth group; expulsion from school in March 1939 due to German occupation; confiscation of the family's business; moving in with her grandparents; her father's deportation for forced labor, her mother leaving to earn money in Prague, and her brother moving to a hashshara; forming a subgroup with four other girls within the Zionist youth groups; her parents' return; studying with her group for a year at a Youth Aliyah school in Prague; their return to Ostrava; deportation with her family to Theresienstdt in fall 1942; living with her group; working in the garden, then the laundry; obtaining extra food for her parents; contacts only with her Zionist friends; her father's death in December; deportation to Auschwitz/Birkenau a year later; separation from her brother; a Greek prisoner helping her and her mother retain their coats and boots; assignment to the family camp; slave labor moving stones; transfer after six months with six girls to a privileged position in a weaving factory; receiving extra food and privileges for her high productivity; and occasionally sabotaging her work.
Ms. E. recalls sharing food with her brother; the pain of watching him die; harsh treatment by Polish prisoners; her mother's transfer to her work detail; their transfer to Hamburg; slave labor clearing bombing debris; Russian POWs passing her extra food; singing satirical songs to raise their morale; French POWs passing them food and clothing; transfer to Neugrabben, then another camp; transfer to Bergen-Belsen after eight months; horrendous conditions; observing cannibalism; liberation by British troops; her mother's transfer by British medical staff; learning she had died shortly thereafter; returning to Prague; living with an uncle and aunt there, then another uncle in Kopřivnice; leaving due to his refusal to return her mother's jewelry and feeling unwelcome; returning to Prague; a couple inviting her to live with them and arranging her entry to art school; meeting young Israelis; joining a Zionist group; and legal emigration to Israel in 1949. Ms. E. discusses not sharing her experiences with Israelis due to their indifference to survivors; feeling comfortable only with fellow-Czech survivors; winning prizes in children's literature; nightmares resulting from her experiences; and increasing emotional burdens with the passage of time.

Author/Creator
E., Mickal, 1926-
Published
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1996
Interview Date
July 18 and 25, 1996.
Language
Hebrew
Copies
2 copies: Betacam SP master; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Mickal E. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3833). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
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View in Yale University Library Catalog: http://hdl.handle.net/10079/bibid/4395512
Record last modified: 2017-03-13 15:53:00
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/hvt4395512