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

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: MS 1322

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.

Author/Creator
W., Itta, 1927-
Published
Brussels, Belgium : Fondation Auschwitz, 1997
Interview Date
March 10 and 19, 1997.
Language
French
Copies
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.
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View in Yale University Library Catalog: http://hdl.handle.net/10079/bibid/4677221
Record last modified: 2016-04-11 13:22:00
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/hvt4677221