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Elazar S. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3871)

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3871

Videotape testimony of Elazar S., who was born in Kraków, Poland in 1924, the elder of two children. He recalls his sister's birth in 1931; attending private Hebrew schools; antisemitic harassment; his father's communal leadership role, including in Zionist organizations; attending a Zionist congress with him in Switzerland in 1935; assisting German-Jewish refugees; German invasion in September 1939; anti-Jewish restrictions; his father briefly fleeing; his arrest a week after his return; notification of his death in December 1940; Mr. S. receiving assistance from his Polish nanny; his mother apprenticing him as a bookbinder; ghettoization in March 1941; entrusting valuables to his nanny; working in a book bindery, then in a German automobile garage; deportations, one of which included his mother; placing his sister with a neighbor; transfer to Płaszów in March 1943; learning his sister had been killed; slave labor in a paper factory; random killings by Kommandant Amon Göth; public hangings; failing health resulting in his losing hope of survival; developing an escape plan with a friend; hiding beneath barracks for several days; he and his friend crawling under the fences at night; being shot; hiding in a grain storage bin, then with his nanny (she removed the bullet, fed, and clothed them); living with another former Polish employee (his friend went elsewhere); the nanny selling his family valuables to obtain funds and false papers for him, and arranging with the underground for his escape to Hungary; traveling to Piwniczna tied under a freight train; smugglers taking him with a group to Prešov, Košice, then by train to Budapest; living in Balatonboglár as a non-Jew; meeting French prisoners of war who were planning an escape to Turkey; promising to join the French Foreign Legion to join them; traveling with them to Edirne; an Israeli representative negotiating his release from the group; and legal emigration to Palestine in March 1944. Mr. S. discusses his career as a biochemist; sharing his story with his children and grandchildren; visiting Poland with his family in 1986; and believing his successful life and family are his form of revenge. He shows photographs and documents.

Author/Creator
S., Elazar, 1924-
Published
Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1996
Interview Date
November 15 and December 6, 1996.
Language
Hebrew
Copies
2 copies: Betacam SP master; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Elazar S. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3871). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.