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

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-4027

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.

Author/Creator
I., Alberto, 1927-
Published
Brussels, Belgium : Fondation Auschwitz, 1995
Interview Date
October 11, 1995.
Language
French
Copies
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.
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View in Yale University Library Catalog: http://hdl.handle.net/10079/bibid/4655568
Record last modified: 2016-02-01 15:33:00
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/hvt4655568