Samuel A. Holocaust testimony (HVT-4061) interviewed by Yannis Thanassekos and Michel Rosenfeldt
- Brussels, Belgium : Fondation Auschwitz, 1997
- Interview Date
- June 4 and November 24, 1997.
- 2 copies: Betacam SP master; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
- Cite As
- Samuel A. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-4061). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
Videotape testimony of Samuel A., who was born in Łódź, Poland in 1922, one of five children. He recounts his father's emigration to Belgium; joining him with his mother and brothers in approximately 1926; the births of two sisters in Charleroi; attending school; moving with his family to Antwerp in 1932; participating in Hashomer Hatzair; attending public school; German invasion; fleeing with his family to Toulouse; draft with his father and brothers into the Polish military; posting to a nearby military base; fleeing German bombings; joining his family in Toulouse; incarceration with his brothers and father as Polish POWs in Caylus; sending packages to his mother and sisters who were in Rivesaltes; his father arranging the escape of his mother and sisters, with assistance from a French officer; placement of his sisters and mother in hiding; transfer with his father and brothers to a camp with only Jews, then to Drancy in August 1942; encountering his uncle who was married to a non-Jew, thus exempting him from deportation; deportation with his father and brothers to Allach in August; slave labor laying train tracks; his father receiving extra food for playing chess with prisoner officials; and deportation of his father and brothers while he was at work (he never saw them again).
Mr. A. recalls transfer to Szopienice, then Tarnowitz; slave labor for Organization Todt; transfer to Auschwitz/Birkenau, then Warsaw; clearing rubble in the former ghetto; trading valuables he found for food; public hangings; quarantine for typhus; a brief assignment dynamiting the ruins; a death march to Kutno; helping a young boy; train transfer to Dachau, then evacuation; liberation by United States troops near Starnberger See; being assigned to live with a German family; repatriation to Hotel Lutetia in Paris; reunion with his uncle and aunt; joining his mother and sisters; their return to Antwerp; obtaining reparations; his sisters and mother emigrating to England; marriage; and the births of two children. Mr. A. discusses the prisoner hierarchy and relations between national groups in the camps; attributing his survival to never losing hope, but his own incredulity that he survived such conditions; adding the names of his brothers and father to his mother's tombstone; not sharing his experiences, believing no one but a camp survivor could understand; and pervasive painful memories and nightmares.