Mickal E. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3833)
- Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1996
- Interview Date
- July 18 and 25, 1996.
- 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.
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.