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Leon L. Holocaust testimony (HVT-4073) interviewed by Yannis Thanassekos, Michel Rosenfeldt, and Massimo Ianetta

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-4073

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.

Author/Creator
L., Leon, 1911-
Published
Brussels, Belgium : Fondation Auschwitz, 1996
Interview Date
November 4 and 25, 1996.
Language
French
Copies
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.
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View in Yale University Library Catalog: http://hdl.handle.net/10079/bibid/4677112
Record last modified: 2016-12-15 13:45:00
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/hvt4677112