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Alberto I. Holocaust testimony (HVT-4027) interviewed by Michel Rosenfeldt and Yannis Thanassekos,

Oral History | Digitized | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-4027

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    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.
    I., Alberto, 1927-
    Brussels, Belgium : Fondation Auschwitz, 1995
    Interview Date
    October 11, 1995.
    Rhodes (Greece : Island)
    Bolzano (Italy : Province)
    Modena (Italy)
    Bologna (Italy)
    Rome (Italy)
    Brussels (Belgium)
    Congo (Democratic Republic)
    Cite As
    Alberto I. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-4027). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
    Other Authors/Editors
    Thanassekos, Yannis, interviewer.
    Rosenfeldt, Michel, interviewer.
    This testimony is in French.

    Physical Details

    2 copies: Betacam SP dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
    Physical Description
    1 videorecording (5 hr., 35 min.) : col

    Keywords & Subjects

    Subjects (Local Yale)
    Italian occupation.
    Aid by non-Jews.
    Hospitals in concentration camps.
    Postwar experiences.
    Postwar effects.
    Survivor-child relations.
    Holocaust survivors. Video tapes. Men. Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Personal narratives. World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, Jewish. Fathers and sons. Mothers and sons. Brothers and sisters. Brothers. Concentration camp inmates--Family relationships. Forced labor. Concentration camp inmates--Religious life. Concentration camps--Psychological aspects. Death marches. World War, 1939-1945--Atrocities. Revenge. Faith. Nightmares. Italy. Rhodes (Greece : Island) Bolzano (Italy : Province) Modena (Italy) Bologna (Italy) Rome (Italy) Brussels (Belgium) Congo (Democratic Republic) Oral histories (document genres) I., Alberto,--1927- Haidari (Concentration camp) Auschwitz (Concentration camp) Birkenau (Concentration camp) Mauthausen (Concentration camp) Ebensee (Concentration camp)

    Administrative Notes

    Link to Yale University Library Catalog:
    Record last modified:
    2018-05-30 11:27:00
    This page:

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