Itta W. Holocaust testimony (HVT-4083) interviewed by Yannis Thanassekos and Michel Rosenfeldt
- Brussels, Belgium : Fondation Auschwitz, 1997
- Interview Date
- March 10 and 19, 1997.
- 2 copies: Betacam SP dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
- Cite As
- Itta W. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-4083). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
Videotape testimony of Itta W., who was born in Częstochowa, Poland in 1927. She recounts her family's emigration to Brussels in 1928; her brother's birth when she was five; a happy childhood; attending a music academy; cordial relations with non-Jews; German invasion; briefly fleeing to Tournai; anti-Jewish restrictions; a non-Jewish friend offering to marry her to save her from deportation; their sham marriage; hiding briefly in the Ardennes, then with her brother in her “husband's” apartment (her parents hid elsewhere); visiting her parents once; arrest; transfer to Malines in June 1943; her brother's hospitalization; deportation in August to Auschwitz/Birkenau in a separate railway car from her brother (she never saw him again); being shaved and tattooed; the horrendous smell; a Belgian, Mala Zimetbaum, giving her shoes; a Belgian women recruiting her for the women's orchestra, a privileged position; receiving a violin; recruiting Fanny Korenblum from her transport, thus saving her life; playing as the prisoners marched to and returned from work, under the direction of Sofia Tchaikovska; Alma Rosé being appointed director; her death in April 1944; having no contact with those not in the orchestra; a sense of sisterhood with orchestra members, including Fania Fenelon and Anita Lasker; public hanging of Mala Zimetbaum; transfer of only the Jewish orchestra members to Bergen-Belsen in November; slave labor in a factory; sabotaging their work; contracting typhus; liberation by British troops in April 1945; placement in the Soltau displaced persons camp with other orchestra members; repatriation on May 20; reunion with her parents; divorce; marriage to a survivor; the births of two children; her husband's death in 1965; and remarriage. Ms. W. discusses close bonds with orchestra members; conflicts among national groups; her lack of belief in God being reinforced by her camp experiences; poor health prohibiting her from playing the violin; pervasive painful memories, particularly her brother's death; visiting Auschwitz with her husband; not sharing her experiences with her parents or children; and books by two orchestra members.