Alberto I. Holocaust testimony (HVT-4027) interviewed by Michel Rosenfeldt and Yannis Thanassekos
- Brussels, Belgium : Fondation Auschwitz, 1995
- Interview Date
- October 11, 1995.
- 2 copies: Betacam SP dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
- Cite As
- Alberto I. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-4027). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
Videotape testimony of Alberto I., who was born in Rhodes, Italy (presently Greece) in 1927, one of ten children. He recounts three brothers and a sister emigrating to Congo; the early deaths of two younger siblings; cordial relations with local Greeks; attending a Catholic school; participating in fascist activities; enactment of Italian anti-Jewish laws; expulsion from the Fascist party and school; attending a Jewish school; destruction of their house in an Allied bombing; German occupation in 1943; a deportation order for all Jews; the Turkish consul saving Jews with Turkish citizenship; deportation with his parents, sister, and two brothers in July 1944 to Haidari; encountering a cousin who had been born in the United States and was released; a thirteen-day journey in cattle trains to Auschwitz/Birkenau in August; many deaths en route; separation from his parents (he never saw them again); the odor of burning flesh; slave labor constructing roads; speaking with his sister through barbed wire fences; forming a quorum to say prayers; observing Yom Kippur; transfer with the other Rhodians two weeks later to Charlottengrube; slave labor in a coal mine; Polish civilian miners sharing their food; and one brother's transfer.
Mr. I. recalls a death march, then train transfer to Mauthausen in January 1945; separation from his brother upon transfer to Ebensee; slave labor building a tunnel; public hangings; brief hospitalization; his brother-in-law's death; abandonment by German guards; prisoners killing kapos and local Germans; his inability to do so, but satisfaction that others took revenge; liberation by United States troops; being sent to Bolzano, Modena, then Bologna; hospitalization; learning his brothers had not survived; reunion with his sister in Rome; contacting his siblings in the Congo; emigration with his sister in May 1946 to join them; and returning to Brussels in 1962. Mr. I. discusses dehumanization in camps; moments when he lost his faith; learning to love again with help from a very loving sister; visiting Auschwitz where he said Kaddish for his parents and cried in Auschwitz for the first time; organizing a memorial service for all the Rhodian Jews, particularly those who had no surviving relatives; his deep sense of loss for his beloved Rhodian Jewish community; sharing his experiences with his granddaughter, but not his wife or children; a part of him that always remains in camp; physical maladies and nightmares resulting from his experiences; and wishing to be cremated to “end” like his parents.