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Shalom E. Holocaust testimony (HVT-4007)

Oral History | Digitized | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-4007

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    Videotape testimony of Shalom E., who was born in Kaunas, Lithuania in 1933, the eldest of two children. He recounts attending a Hebrew school; holiday visits to his grandfather, a rabbi in Viduklė; Soviet occupation; transfer to a Yiddish school; German invasion in June 1941; staying in a bunker for three days; anti-Jewish restrictions; ghettoization in August; his father's appointment to the Aeltestenrat, which saved many Jews, as ghetto historian; attending school; a large round-up in fall 1941 from which they were freed; the next morning hearing and seeing mass shootings in the distance at the Ninth Fort and corpses at the round-up area; his father's deportation to Rīga in February 1942; receiving letters from him through Lithuanian and Latvian friends; his mother smuggling food into the ghetto from her workplace; joining a Zionist group guarding community gardens; public hanging of a friend for smuggling; singing in a choir; his mother's involvement in the ghetto underground, through which he met its leader, Chaim Yellin; his mother taking his sister to hide with Lithuanians; and attending an ORT school.

    Mr. E. recalls hiding during the round-up of children; his mother arranging for him to be smuggled out of the ghetto and hidden with a Lithuanian family in April 1944; being moved to a farm in Liepynai in June; the farmer sending him to hide in the forest; liberation by Soviet troops; traveling to Marijampolė; returning to Kaunas with help from a Soviet officer; living with a Jewish couple for a year; finding personal belongings in the ashes of the ghetto; living in an orphanage for six months; hearing from his father; leaving to join him with a Beriḥah group; capture by Soviets in Vilnius; interrogation by the NKVD; escaping; the Jewish community hiding him, then arranging his travel to join his father in Munich in March 1946; emigration to Israel two weeks later; joining his aunt; and celebrating his bar mitzvah three weeks after his arrival. Mr. E. discusses nightmares resulting from his experiences; his father's reluctance to share his experiences; difficulty confirming his mother's and sister's deaths; and writing his memoir over the last twenty-three years. He shows photographs and sings ghetto songs.
    E., Shalom, 1933-
    Tel Aviv, Israel : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 1998
    Interview Date
    June 25, June 29, and July 19, 1998.
    Kaunas (Lithuania)
    Viduklė (Lithuania)
    Liepynai (Lithuania)
    Marijampolė (Lithuania)
    Vilnius (Lithuania)
    Munich (Germany)
    Cite As
    Shalom E. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-4007). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
    This testimony is in Hebrew.
    Related publications: Crossing the river / Shalom Eilati ; translated from Hebrew by Vern Lenz. Tuscaloosa : University of Alabama Press, c2008.
    Related publications: La-ḥatsot et ha-nahar / Shalom Elati. Yerushalayim : Yad ṿa-shem : Karmel, c1999.
    Additional written materials are available in the repository.

    Physical Details

    2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
    Physical Description
    3 videorecordings (8 hr., 26 min.) : col

    Keywords & Subjects

    Subjects (Local Yale)
    Child survivors.
    Mass killings.
    Aid by non-Jews.
    Soviet occupation.
    Postwar experiences.
    Postwar effects.

    Administrative Notes

    Link to Yale University Library Catalog:
    Record last modified:
    2018-05-30 11:51:00
    This page:

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