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Robert B. Holocaust testimony (HVT-4125)

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-4125

Videotape testimony of Robert B., who was born in Topol̕čany, Czechoslovakia (presently Slovakia) in 1929. He recounts his parents were orthodox, but had secular educations; speaking German at home; cordial relations with non-Jews; antisemitic laws beginning in 1940, including expulsion from school; attending a Jewish school; eviction from their house; protection from deportations due to his father's position; Hlinka guard rounding-up relatives for deportation, including his grandmother; arrival of Germans during the Slovak uprising in 1944; deportation with his parents to Sered; volunteering to bury four Jews who were killed; one of the burial detail escaping; immediate deportation with his parents to Auschwitz/Birkenau; his father advising him to say he was older; the humiliation of being naked with his father and all the male leaders of Topol̕čany; learning his uncle had a privileged position; receiving clothing from him; quarantine with other children resulting in separation from his father; assignment to several jobs after the quarantine; evacuation by train in January 1945 to Buchenwald; assignment to a children's block; improved conditions; a death march in April; escaping after two days; liberation by United States troops; recuperating in Jena; traveling to Prague in June; learning his father was alive in Topol̕čany; living there with an uncle and aunt; pervasive antisemitism; traveling to Košice in 1948; emigration to Israel; fighting in the war; and founding a kibbutz with other youths. Mr. B. discusses being less traumatized by memories of the Holocaust than older survivors because he did not really understand what was occurring in front of his own eyes.

Author/Creator
B., Robert, 1929-
Published
Bratislava, Slovakia : Milan Šimečka Foundation, 1997
Interview Date
November 15, 1997.
Language
Slovak
Copies
3 copies: 1/2 in. VHS submaster; Betacam SP dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Robert B. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-4125). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.