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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.

V., Jan, 1922-
Brussels, Belgium : Fondation Auschwitz, 1997-1998
Interview Date
December 1, 1997 and January 26, 1998.
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)
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:
Record last modified: 2018-06-04 13:34:00
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