Jacques R. Holocaust testimony (HVT-4054) interviewed by Michel Rosenfeldt and Michel Bailly
- Brussels, Belgium : Fondation Auschwitz, 1995
- Interview Date
- November 8, 1995.
- 2 copies: Betacam SP dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
- Cite As
- Jacques R. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-4054). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
Videotape testimony of Jacques R., who was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1920, one of three children. He recounts his family's move to Anderlecht in 1924; his father working as a rabbi and mohel; attending public school and cheder; training for four years as a sculptor at the Academie Royale de Beaux-Arts in Brussels, then for six months with his grandfather as an engraver; German invasion; fleeing to De Panne; returning home; anti-Jewish restrictions; sculpting grave monuments; hiding his parents and sister with non-Jews in Sint-Genesius-Rode; obtaining false papers; arrest and interrogation in Avenue Louise; transfer to St.Gilles, then Malines in 1943; deportation by cattle car to Auschwitz/Birkenau; many deaths en route; transfer to Jaworzno; slave labor building barracks; brief hospitalization; a SS killing several prisoners, but sparing him upon learning he was a sculptor; sculpting the SS man's bust; privileged work as a sculptor for the camp commandant; sharing extra food with fellow prisoners that Germans gave him for engraving work; reassignment eight months later to hard slave labor; beating a higher ranking prisoner for revealing a sick boy who was hiding during work; public executions; hiding a fellow prisoner on Yom Kippur so he could pray for all of them; a death march via Laurahütte to Blechhammer; liberation by Soviet troops in January 1945; walking with friends to Bytom, then Częstochowa; relocation a month later by the Soviets to Starokosti︠a︡ntyniv; briefly escaping to Odesa; traveling to Berlin, then Braunschweig; repatriation to Hotel Lutetia in Paris, then Brussels; reunion with his family; his mother's death; marriage in 1964; divorce; and raising his two children. Mr. R. discusses intergroup relations in the camps; attributing his survival to his sculpting/engraving skills, and luck; willing himself to survive in order to see his mother again; retaining his belief in God; sharing his experiences with his family and children; nightmares about the camps; and many visits to Auschwitz, one with his children.