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Itta W. Holocaust testimony (HVT-4083) interviewed by Yannis Thanassekos and Michel Rosenfeldt,

Oral History | Digitized | Fortunoff Collection ID: MS 1322

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    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.
    W., Itta, 1927-
    Brussels, Belgium : Fondation Auschwitz, 1997
    Interview Date
    March 10 and 19, 1997.
    Częstochowa (Poland)
    Brussels (Belgium)
    Tournai (Belgium)
    Cite As
    Itta W. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-4083). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
    Other Authors/Editors
    Thanassekos, Yannis, interviewer.
    Rosenfeldt, Michel, interviewer.
    This testimony is in French.
    Related publication: Sursis pour l'orchestre / Fania Fénelon ; témoignage recueilli par Marcelle Routier. -- Paris : Stock,c1976.
    Related publication: Inherit the truth, 1939-1945 : the documented experiences of a survivor of Auschwitz and Belsen / Anita Lasker-Wallfisch. -- London : Giles de la Mare, c1996.

    Physical Details

    2 copies: Betacam SP dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
    Physical Description
    2 videorecordings (2 hr., 36 min., and 2 hr., 57 min.) : col

    Keywords & Subjects

    Subjects (Local Yale)
    Child survivors.
    Aid by non-Jews.
    Mutual aid.
    Postwar experiences.
    Survivor-child relations.
    Postwar effects.
    Holocaust survivors. Video tapes. Women. Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Personal narratives. World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, Jewish. World War, 1939-1945--Children. Jewish children in the Holocaust. Interfaith marriage. Brothers and sisters. Husband and wife. Concentration camps--Songs and music. Concentration camps--Sociological aspects. Concentration camps--Psychological aspects. World War, 1939-1945--Atrocities. Faith. Friendship. Forced labor. Sabotage. Refugee camps. Poland. Częstochowa (Poland) Brussels (Belgium) Tournai (Belgium) Ardennes. Oral histories (document genres) W., Itta,--1927- Feinstein, Elsa Miller. Birkenwald, Fanny Korenblum. Tchaikovska, Sofia. Rosé, Alma. Zimetbaum, Mala,--1918-1944. Fénelon, Fania. Lasker-Wallfisch, Anita. Malines (Concentration camp) Auschwitz (Concentration camp) Birkenau (Concentration camp) Bergen-Belsen (Concentration camp)

    Administrative Notes

    Link to Yale University Library Catalog:
    Record last modified:
    2018-06-04 13:30:00
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