Leon L. Holocaust testimony (HVT-4073) interviewed by Yannis Thanassekos, Michel Rosenfeldt, and Massimo Ianetta
- Brussels, Belgium : Fondation Auschwitz, 1996
- Interview Date
- November 4 and 25, 1996.
- 2 copies: Betacam SP dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
- Cite As
- Leon L. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-4073). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
Videotape testimony of Leon L., who was born in Paris, France to Russian émigrés in 1911, one of two children. He recounts his family's move to Brussels in 1914; restrictions as enemy aliens during World War I; her sister's birth in 1915; his bar mitzvah; his father's communist activities; brief apprenticeship as an upholsterer; attending classes to become a clerk; joining a communist youth group in 1927; working as a salesman; his father's arrest and exile to Paris as a communist in 1931; German invasion in 1940; briefly fleeing with his mother to France; contact with the resistance; obtaining false papers; marriage to a Catholic; arrest as a resistant in 1943; incarceration in Avenue Louise; interrogations and beatings; transfer to St. Gilles a few days later; his real papers revealing he was a Jew; transfer to Malines; being advised he might be released due to his marriage to a Belgian Catholic; sharing packages from home and the Red Cross with others; his wife securing his release a year later; transfer to St. Gilles in September 1944; train evacuation in September; the Resistance sabotaging the train and the tracks within Belgium; Red Cross effecting the release of the entire train; reunion with his wife; liberation by Canadian troops; reunion with his sister, who was hidden in a hospital, and his mother, who was hidden by his mother-in-law; learning his father had been deported to Auschwitz; and the births of three children. Mr. L. discusses becoming aware and appreciative of his Jewish identity in Malines; prisoner designations and the accompanying status; the importance of his socialist ideals to maintaining hope; difficulties obtaining compensation as a Jew and resistant; not sharing his experiences with his children; and becoming a Belgian citizen.