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Samuel A. Holocaust testimony (HVT-4061) interviewed by Yannis Thanassekos and Michel Rosenfeldt

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-4061

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.

Author/Creator
A., Samuel, 1922-
Published
Brussels, Belgium : Fondation Auschwitz, 1997
Interview Date
June 4 and November 24, 1997.
Language
French
Copies
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.
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View in Yale University Library Catalog: http://hdl.handle.net/10079/bibid/4676823
Record last modified: 2017-01-13 10:58:00
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/hvt4676823