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Shalom E. Holocaust testimony (HVT-4007)

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-4007

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)
2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Shalom E. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-4007). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
View in Yale University Library Catalog:
Record last modified: 2018-05-30 11:51:00
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