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Jacques R. Holocaust testimony (HVT-4054) interviewed by Michel Rosenfeldt and Michel Bailly

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-4054

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.

Author/Creator
R., Jacques, 1920-
Published
Brussels, Belgium : Fondation Auschwitz, 1995
Interview Date
November 8, 1995.
Language
French
Copies
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.
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View in Yale University Library Catalog: http://hdl.handle.net/10079/bibid/4676785
Record last modified: 2015-05-25 13:06:00
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/hvt4676785