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Alice I. Holocaust testimony (HVT-4057) interviewed by Yannis Thanassekos and Michel Rosenfeldt

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-4057

Videotape testimony of Alice I., who was born in Rhodes, Italy (presently Greece), a twin and one of five children. She recounts her family's orthodoxy; their affluence; cordial relations with Italians; attending an Italian school; expulsion in 1938 due to racial laws; attending a clandestine school; many Jews emigrating; her two older sisters living with uncles in Brussels and Paris; allied bombings; her sisters returning, her uncles believing it safer in Rhodes; living in Ialysos for a month to escape bombings; German occupation; round-up in July 1943; a friend (an Italian officer) offering to hide her, her twin brother, and younger sister; her mother refusing wanting to keep the family together; Italian priests and nuns bringing them food; transfer to Piraeus, then to Haidari; her teacher's death; deportation with her family by cattle car to Auschwitz/Birkeanu in September 1944; separation by gender; selection with her mother, brother, and younger sister; a German moving her to the group with her older sisters; the older of her sisters protecting them; forming a group with other Rhodians, including her cousins; the death of the younger of her sisters; her older sister's hospitalization; sleeping with her until the doctor would not allow it (she never saw her sister again); and a Greek prisoner helping her join a group for transfer in November.
Ms. I recalls slave labor in Landsberg; public hangings; remaining with her Rhodian group; transfer to Dachau for a day, then to Türkheim; her group obtaining privileged assignments in the kitchen and the Kommandant's house; assistance from the Kommandant's wife; a Red Cross visit; transfer back to Landsberg; a death march to Dachau, then Allach; supporting each other; liberation by United States troops days later; an American physician (he had known her mother) caring for her; repatriation to Balzano with her group; traveling with friends to Bologna, then Florence; assistance from the Joint; her uncle from Paris (he had survived in hiding) coming to get her; living with his family in Saint-Vincent, then Paris; antisemitic harassment in school; meeting her future husband, a former Rhodian who was living in Zaire (Congo); joining him in Africa,; marriage, the births of three children; and moving to Brussels in 1959. Ms. I. discusses the importance to survival of prisoners helping each other; pervasive fear in the camps; singing songs to raise their morale; depression upon liberation realizing her losses and being the sole survivor of her immediate family; her husband and children giving her the sense of rebuilding a family; not sharing her story with her children; her grandchildren's interest; a painful visit to Rhodes with them; and the impossibility of conveying the horror of the camps in films.

Author/Creator
I., Alice, 1931-
Published
Brussels, Belgium : Fondation Auschwitz, 1996
Interview Date
October 21, 1996.
Language
French
Copies
2 copies: Betacam SP dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Alice I. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-4057). 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/4676805
Record last modified: 2016-11-08 13:25:00
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/hvt4676805