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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 in town; 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 arrest for hiding goods; an SS man attempting to rape her; her parents' and brother's trials for hiding weapons; their imprisonments; deportation to Theresienstadt with her other 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 with her brother to Auschwitz/Birkenau 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.
Kutná Hora (Czech Republic)
Kolín (Czech Republic)
Prague (Czech Republic)
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.
View in Yale University Library Catalog:
Record last modified: 2018-06-04 13:27:00
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