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Jan V. Holocaust testimony (HVT-4082) interviewed by Michel Rosenfeldt, Marie-Pierre Antoine, and Genevieve Thyange

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-4082

Videotape testimony of Jan V., who was born in Rumbeke, Belgium in 1922, the oldest of three children in a religious Catholic family. He recounts living in Louvain from age three; attending Catholic school; participating in Scouting; German invasion in May 1940; traveling with his cousin to Tournai, then Rouen to enlist; being shipped by train to Anduze, France; repatriation about six weeks later; living briefly in Tongeren; priesthood training in monasteries in Bocholt for two years, in Gits for two years, then in Thy-le-Château; arrest in July 1944 with thirteen others from the monastery for listening to the BBC; incarceration in Charleroi; deportation by cattle car to Neuengamme in September, then transfer to Blumenthal a few days later; slave labor in a submarine factory; sabotaging the work; a beating for foraging parts to create a hotplate; hospitalization for ten days; praying and attending clandestine Masses; a public hanging; transfer to Farge in late winter; a death march, then train transfer back to Neuengamme, then days later to Lübeck; transfer to the ship Cap Arcona, then another ship; debarkation; liberation by British troops; living with Germans in Neustadt; repatriation; hospitalization for typhus; a long recuperation, including time in a sanatorium; leaving the priesthood (he had never taken his vows); marriage; participating in a Neuengamme survivors organization; living in Africa with his wife and children for thirty-six years; and their return to Belgium in 1986. Mr. V. details the impact of extreme starvation and cold; camp hierarchies and group relations; trusting only his monastery group, including Marcel B.; nightmares resulting from his experiences; continuing his Catholic beliefs and practices; and a monument at Thy-le-Château to those deported, of whom four of fourteen survived.

Author/Creator
V., Jan, 1922-
Published
Brussels, Belgium : Fondation Auschwitz, 1997-1998
Interview Date
December 1, 1997 and January 26, 1998.
Locale
Belgium
Rumbeke (West Flanders, Belgium)
Louvain (Belgium)
Tournai (Belgium)
Rouen (France)
Tongeren (Belgium)
Anduze (France)
Gits (Belgium)
Bocholt (Belgium)
Thy-le-Chat̂eau (Belgium)
Neustadt in Holstein (Germany)
Lübeck (Germany)
Language
French
Copies
2 copies: Betacam SP dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Jan V. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-4082). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
 
View in Yale University Library Catalog: http://hdl.handle.net/10079/bibid/4677217
Record last modified: 2018-06-04 13:34:00
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/hvt4677217