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Emil L. Holocaust testimony (HVT-4194) interviewed by Yannis Thanassekos and Michel Rosenfeldt

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-4194

Videotape testimony of Emil L., who was born in Berehove, Czechoslovakia (presently Ukraine) in 1920, one of four children. He recounts his father serving in World War I, and participating in the October Revolution in Russia; attending cheder; his family's emigration to Antwerp in 1930; moving to Brussels; attending a Flemish school; cordial relations with non-Jews; his bar mitzvah; participating in the Young Socialists (JS); collecting money for children victims of the Spanish Civil War; a meeting of socialists and communists in Louvain; arrest while attending an anti-Rexist demonstration; release; hiding in France briefly; apprenticeship as a tailor; German invasion; boarding a train for France; the train's bombing, resulting in the death of an aunt and the wounding of his father and brother; returning from France; joining the underground; hiding with false papers; hiding his parents with non-Jews; leading a group of Hungarian resistors; his brother's arrest and subsequent execution; working with the Armée Belge des Partisans; sabotaging trains and other military actions in Dieppe and elsewhere; arrest, interrogation, and torture (they did not discover he was Jewish); solitary confinement in St. Gilles; deportation in cattle cars to Neuengamme; receiving a Red Cross package; transfer a few days later to Schandelah; slave labor laying rail tracks; hospitalization; working in the infirmary; escaping from a train transport; liberation by United States troops; traveling to Paris; assistance from the Red Cross; returning home; reunion with his family; testifying in trials of collaborators; convalescing in Switzerland for six months; assisting with the disarmament of the resistance; participating in the Communist party; moving to Budapest with his family; changing his name to appear more ethnically Hungarian; serving in the Communist party's central committee; the 1956 uprising; attending a conference in Berlin in 1957; assignment as a press attaché to Paris in 1960; serving in various political posts in Brussels, and the Hague. Mr. L. discusses relations between various prisoner groups in the camps; prisoners encouraging each other and sharing food; the Hungarian communist party, and the reasons for the revolt in 1956; the prevalence of antisemitism in Hungary; his shock at conditions in the Soviet Union when he visited with his wife in 1970; and participating in a survivor organization.

L., Emil, 1920-
Brussels, Belgium : Fondation Auschwitz, 1998
Interview Date
June 14, and June 16, 1998.
2 copies: Betacam SP master; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Emil L. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-4194). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
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Record last modified: 2016-11-08 14:16:00
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