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Yitzhak A. Holocaust testimony (HVT-4103) interviewed by Lawrence L. Langer and Dori Laub

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-4103

Videotape testimony of Yitzhak A., who was born in Švenčionys, Poland (presently Lithuania) in 1926. He recalls a large and warm extended family; moving to Zamość, Lublin, and Warsaw as his father changed cantorial positions; German invasion in 1939; his bar mitzvah in November; he and his sister smuggling themselves to Švenčionys in the Soviet zone; attending Russian school; receiving letters from their parents; German invasion in June 1941; attempting to escape east; attacks by Lithuanians; returning home; hearing Stalin's radio call for partisan warfare; announcement of ghettoization; escaping to Glubokoye; learning of a mass shooting outside Švenčionys, including most of his family; his sister visiting; their return to Švenčionys; ghettoization; forced labor sorting abandoned Soviet weapons; smuggling some into the ghetto; forming an underground group; forced labor for Organisation Todt; the arrest of two of their members when a gun was inadvertently shot; the group's decision not to escape to prevent endangering the entire ghetto; arrival of 2,000 more Jews, facilitating their escape; and escaping to a forest with twenty-five others in March 1943.
Mr. A. recounts traveling to the Vilna ghetto with its ghetto police in an April transport; visiting his sister there; learning the entire transport had been killed at Ponary; meeting with the ghetto underground which invited his group to join their uprising; arrest; release; returning to the forest; seeking Soviet partisans; joining the Chapayev group of the Voroshilov Brigade led by Fëdor Markov, a former teacher from Švenčionys; blowing up trains, obtaining food, and helping captured partisans escape; battles with the Armia Krajowa in winter 1944; joining Soviet forces in June; fighting against Lithuanian collaborators; entering Švenčionys at liberation; reunion with his sister; escaping to Łódź; learning of the death camps; forging documents for Beriḥah for illegal immigration to Palestine; arrival there in December 1946; writing his memoirs; joining the Palmaḥ; a twenty-five year military career; retirement as a brigadier general; and becoming chair of Yad Vashem. Mr. A. discusses necessary conditions for partisan formation; wanting to live and revenge himself, not die a hero in a city uprising; the randomness of his survival; his sense of obligation to his lost world which motivates his research; and dilemmas of the Holocaust which others find difficult to understand.

Author/Creator
A., Yitzhak, 1926-
Published
New Haven, Conn. : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 2001
Interview Date
April 18, 2001.
Locale
Lithuania
Švenčionys
Vilnius
Belarus
Poland
Švenčionys (Lithuania)
Zamość (Poland)
Lublin (Poland)
Warsaw (Poland)
Hlybokae (Belarus)
Łódź (Poland)
Palestine
Language
English
Copies
3 copies: Betacam SP master; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Yitzhak A. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-4103). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
 
View in Yale University Library Catalog: http://hdl.handle.net/10079/bibid/4789901
Record last modified: 2018-06-04 13:25:00
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/hvt4789901