Maurice E. Holocaust testimony (HVT-4191) interviewed by Yannis Thanassekos and Michel Rosenfeldt
Videotape testimony of Maurice E., who was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1925, the youngest of three children. He recounts his family's 1929 move to Antwerp, then Brussels, to escape from the orthodox community; their assimilated life style; attending school until age fourteen; participating in socialist groups; his family housing a German-Jewish refugee; German invasion in May 1940; he and his brother fleeing to Paris to join the military; his rejection though his brother was accepted; living in a facility for Belgians in Montpellier; working at a vineyard; incarceration at Agde; escaping with a group; recapture; a beating; escaping again; returning to Brussels; refusing to register as a Jew; joining the Resistance; distributing pamphlets and painting swastikas on homes of collaborators; narrowly escaping arrest; obtaining false papers for his parents; their escape to France; joining the armed Resistance; blowing up rail lines and assassinating collaborators; hiding under false papers; arrest as a Resistant in February 1944; incarceration at Avenue Louise; interrogation and beatings for several weeks; and deportation to Malines, then Auschwitz/Birkenau in April.
Mr. E. recounts slave labor building roads, then a privileged position in Canada Kommando; finding valuables which he traded for food; his group sharing food; a public hanging organized by Oswald Kaduk; transfer to a nearby farm; forced labor clearing unexploded ordnance; narrowly escaping execution; transfer back to Auschwitz; a death march, then train transfer in open cattle cars to Dachau, then Waldlager in January 1945; transfer to Gross-Rosen; evacuation by train; an Allied bombing resulting in many deaths and his severe injury; liberation by British troops; hospitalization in a convent in Tutzing; several surgeries resulting in morphine addiction; transfer to Munich; repatriation to Brussels; hospitalization; reunion with his family; obtaining recognition as a Resistant; marriage; divorce and remarriage; the births of four children; and finally obtaining Belgian citizenship in the 1960s. Mr. E. discusses not feeling or identifying himself as Jewish; camp hierarchies; the importance of luck and friends to his survival; permanent disabilities resulting from his experiences; and sharing parts of his story with his children.
- Brussels, Belgium : Fondation Auschwitz, 1998
- Interview Date
- October 8, 12, and 19, 1998.
- 2 copies: Betacam SP dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
- Cite As
- Maurice E. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-4191). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.