Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

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., a Catholic, who was born in Rumbeke, Belgium in 1922, the oldest of three children. He recounts his father's service in World War I; living in Louvain from age three; attending a Catholic school; training to be an electrician, then thirty months training as a friar; German invasion in May 1940; leaving school by bicycle with his cousin; traveling to Tournai, then Rouen; military draft; being sent to Montpellier, then Anduze; returning home after the capitulation; his parents sending him to Tongeren; joining missionaries preparing for a mission to Africa; training for two years in Bocholt, then two years in Gits; assignment to maintain the Thy-le-Château seminary; learning Jews and Resistants were hidden there; arrest in July 1944; incarceration in Charleroi; deportation by cattle car to Neuengamme in September; then transfer to Blumenthal a few days later
Mr. V. recalls remaining with his seminary group, the only prisoners he trusted; slave labor in a submarine factory; committing sabotage by taking a long time to repair machines; a whipping for trying to make a hotplate; hospitalization for ten days; praying and attending clandestine masses; hearing Allied bombings of Hamburg and Bremen; receiving a Red Cross which was stolen; 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 a ship; liberation by British troops; living with Germans in Neustadt; repatriation; hospitalization for typhus; recuperating in a sanatorium; deciding to leave his Catholic order; marriage; participating in a Neuengamme survivors organization; living in Africa with his wife and children; and their return to Belgium in 1986. Mr. V. discusses nightmares resulting from his experiences; relations between groups in concentration camps; the camp hierarchy; and the singular focus on obtaining food.

V., Jan, 1922-
Brussels, Belgium : Fondation Auschwitz, 1997-1998
Interview Date
December 1, 1997 and January 26, 1998.
2 copies: Betacam SP master; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Jan V. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-1922). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
Expand all
View in Yale University Library Catalog:
Record last modified: 2016-11-08 13:34:00
This page: