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Benzyon W. Holocaust testimony (HVT-4058) interviewed by Yannis Thanassekos and Michel Rosenfeldt,

Oral History | Digitized | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-4058

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    Overview

    Summary
    Videotape testimony of Benzyon W., who was born in Sieniawa, Poland in 1928, the youngest of three brothers. He recounts his family's orthodoxy; antisemitic harassment; participating in a Zionist youth movement; moving with his family to Jumet in 1936; attending a public school and cheder; German invasion; briefly fleeing to France; anti-Jewish restrictions; his bar mitzvah at home since the synagogue had been closed; his father and brothers volunteering for forced labor in 1942, hoping to save him and his mother (he never saw them again); he and his mother hiding wiith non-Jews in early 1943; buying tobacco in Gilly for his host; returning home; arrest when he was out of the house (his mother went into hiding); imprisonment in Charleroi, then Malines; deportation to Auschwitz/Birkenau; selection to work in Monowitz; several slave labor assignments; taking clothing from a kapo to trade with Polish civilians for food; brief hospitalization; public executions; a death march to Gleiwitz; escape from a train during an Allied bombing; recapture; arrival at Oranienburg; a march to Flossenbürg; sneaking out of a group selected for execution; a privileged assignment washing windows; a death march; abandonment by German guards; receiving food from a German farmer; liberation by United States troops; assistance from the Red Cross; repatriation; beating the man with whom he traveled after learning he was a collaborator; reunion with his mother; assistance from the Joint; marriage in 1956; the births of his children; and moving to Israel in 1980 after his mother's death. Mr. W. discusses numbing himself in the camps, focusing only on his own survival; camp hierarchies; relations between national groups; pervasive painful memories and nightmares; not sharing his story with his wife and children until recently; writing a book; and attributing his survival to luck.
    Author/Creator
    W., Benzyon, 1928-
    Published
    Brussels, Belgium : Fondation Auschwitz, 1996
    Interview Date
    February 28, 1996.
    Locale
    Poland
    Sieniawa (Przemyśl, Poland)
    Jumet (Belgium)
    Charleroi (Belgium)
    Gilly (Belgium)
    Cite As
    Benzyon W. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-4058). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
    Other Authors/Editors
    Thanassekos, Yannis, interviewer.
    Rosenfeldt, Michel, interviewer.
    Notes
    This testimony is in French.

    Physical Details

    Language
    French
    Copies
    2 copies: Betacam SP master; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
    Physical Description
    1 videorecording (5 hr., 3 min.) : col

    Keywords & Subjects

    Subjects (Local Yale)
    Child survivors.
    Antisemitism Prewar.
    Hiding.
    Aid by non-Jews.
    Mutual aid.
    Hospitals in concentration camps.
    Postwar experiences.
    Postwar effects.
    Survivor-child relations.
    Subjects
    Holocaust survivors. Video tapes. Men. Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Personal narratives. World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, Jewish. World War, 1939-1945--Children. Jewish children in the Holocaust. Bar mitzvah. World War, 1939-1945--Prisoners and prisons. Forced labor. Concentration camps--Psychological aspects. Concentration camps--Sociological aspects. World War, 1939-1945--Atrocities. Escapes. Death marches. Revenge. Nightmares. Poland. Sieniawa (Przemyśl, Poland) Jumet (Belgium) Charleroi (Belgium) Gilly (Belgium) Oral histories (document genres) W., Benzyion,--1928- Malines (Concentration camp) Birkenau (Concentration camp) Auschwitz (Concentration camp) Monowitz (Concentration camp) Oranienburg (Concentration camp) Flossenbürg (Concentration camp) International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.

    Administrative Notes

    Link to Yale University Library Catalog:
    http://hdl.handle.net/10079/bibid/4676806
    Record last modified:
    2018-05-30 11:51:00
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/hvt4676806

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