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Miriam A. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3835)

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3835

Videotape testimony of Miriam A., who was born in Suchdol, Czechoslovakia (presently Czech Republic) in 1923, the youngest of three children. She recounts being the only Jewish family; a happy childhood; cordial relations with non-Jews; attending school in Kutná Hora; antisemitic harassment by teachers; attending boarding schools where they did not know she was Jewish until March 1939; German occupation; visiting Jewish friends in neighboring Kolín; anti-Jewish laws including travel bans and confiscation of her father's business; hiding valuables with non-Jewish friends, including a priest; her oldest brother being sent for forced labor; her father being beaten and her arrests for hiding goods; an SS man attempting to rape her; her parents' and brother's trials and imprisonment; deportation to Theresienstadt with her brother; a privileged kitchen assignment; sharing extra food with her brother; assistance from women in her barrack; sham improvements for a Red Cross visit; learning her mother had been sent to Auschwitz; asking Jacob Edelstein, the Jewish head, to send her there; his refusal, saying there was “no life” there; hospitalization for a severe burn; deportation to Auschwitz/Birkenau with her brother in October 1944; their separation upon arrival; encountering her cousin's wife; emotional numbness; vainly calling for her brother when near the men's camp; and transfer to Bergen-Belsen.
Ms. A. recalls encountering a woman who had witnessed her mother's death; beatings; her cousin's wife assisting her; moving corpses to earn more soup; transfer in January 1945 to Raghun; slave labor in a factory; sabotaging her work; singing to raise morale; her brother's non-Jewish classmate smuggling food to her; sharing it with friends; hospitalization for typhus; placement with the dead; crawling away; train transfer to Theresienstadt; liberation; traveling to Prague; learning her brother and father had not survived; returning to Suchdol; reunion with her older brother; their return to Prague; his military draft; five months of hospitalizations; living with an antisemitic family; her brother's return; his marriage to a non-Jew; her emigration to Israel in 1949; marriage; a one-year hospitalization for tuberculosis, then five years of treatments; and the births of two daughters against medical advice. Ms. A. discusses relations among national groups in the camps; the negative impact of the rape attempt and camp experiences on her physical and mental health; nightmares; not sharing her experiences with her husband or daughters; and Israeli lack of interest in survivor experiences until the 1980s. She shows Theresienstadt currency and sings a camp song.

A., Miriam, 1923-
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1996
Interview Date
July 26 and August 8, 1996.
2 copies: Betacam SP master; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Miriam A. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3835). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
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Record last modified: 2016-11-08 13:14:00
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