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

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-4058

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.
Language
French
Copies
2 copies: Betacam SP master; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Benzyon W. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-4058). 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/4676806
Record last modified: 2015-05-25 13:06:00
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/hvt4676806