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Abraham N. Holocaust testimony (HVT-4199) interviewed by Yannis Thanassekos and Michel Rosenfeldt,

Oral History | Digitized | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-4199

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    Videotape testimony of Abraham N., who was born in Sierpc, Poland in 1921, the youngest of three children. He recounts his family's move to Antwerp in 1926; his parents' orthodoxy; their poverty; attending a Jewish school; participating in Mizrahi and Yiddischer Arbieter Sport Klub (YASK); apprenticing as a dental technician at age fourteen; joining Maccabi and the Communist party in 1939; German invasion in May 1940; being evacuated to southern France; expulsion from a Belgian refugee camp in Rouens due to his Polish citizenship; living in Segur; returning home a few months later; anti-Jewish laws; joining the Belgian Resistance with his brother; distributing pamphlets; moving to Brussels, then Charleroi; obtaining false papers in Seraing; working for a furrier in Brussels; living with his future wife and another Resistant; assignments to blow up homes and assassinate collaborators, sabotage trains, rob banks and post offices to obtain Resistance funds, and arrange escapes of arrested Resistants; efforts to merge the Jewish and Belgian groups; and arrests in 1942 of his future wife and her parents (they were killed).

    Mr. N. recalls his brother warning him to abstain from Resistance activities; a reorganization in which he was transferred to Nil Saint Vincent in spring 1944; arrest shortly thereafter; being shot while attempting to escape; a severe beating; hospitalization in Brussels; transfer to Breendonk; revealing no information during interrogations; transfer six weeks later to Buchenwald; hospitalization; being assigned to a Belgian rather than Jewish barrack and receiving another identity due to his communist connections; transfer to Zwieberge; his connections arranging a privileged assignment in the laundry; a death march; escaping with others; liberation by United States troops; returning home via Cologne and Viviers; reunion with his brother, sister, and future wife; assistance from the Joint; undergoing surgery on his wound; his son's birth; identifying Gestapo members; and establishing his business in Germany but commuting from Brussels due to his distaste for Germany. Mr. N. discusses the Resistance and camp hierarchies; focusing on the present in camps; prisoners helping each other; permanent disability due to being shot; and feeling betrayed by some Resistants, leading to his resignation from the communist party and writing his biography in defense of his friends, from which his son, at age forty, learned about his experiences.
    N., Abraham, 1921-
    Brussels, Belgium : Fondation Auschwitz, 1998
    Interview Date
    November 30 and December 11, 1998.
    Sierpc (Poland)
    Antwerp (Belgium)
    Rouen (France)
    Ségur-les-Villas (France)
    Charleroi (Belgium)
    Seraing (Belgium)
    Brussels (Belgium)
    Nil Saint Vincent (Belgium)
    Cologne (Germany)
    Viviers (France)
    Cite As
    Abraham N. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-4199). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
    Other Authors/Editors
    Rosenfeldt, Michel, interviewer.
    Thanassekos, Yannis, interviewer.
    This testimony is in French.
    Related manuscript: Les Nejszaten : mémoires, 1921-1945 / Abraham Nejszaten. - - Nil Saint Vincent. Available at

    Physical Details

    2 copies: Betacam SP master; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
    Physical Description
    2 videorecordings (8 hr., 34 min.) : col

    Keywords & Subjects

    Subjects (Local Yale)
    False papers.
    Hospitals in concentration camps.
    Mutual aid.
    Postwar effects.
    Postwar experiences.
    Survivor-child relations.
    Holocaust survivors. Video tapes. Men. Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Personal narratives. World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, Jewish. World War, 1939-1945--Underground movements--Belgium. World War, 1939-1945--Jewish resistance. Forced labor. Concentration camps--Psychological aspects. Concentration camps--Sociological aspects. World War, 1939-1945--Prisoners and prisons, German. Death marches. Escapes. Poland. Sierpc (Poland) Antwerp (Belgium) Rouen (France) Ségur-les-Villas (France) Charleroi (Belgium) Seraing (Belgium) Brussels (Belgium) Nil Saint Vincent (Belgium) Cologne (Germany) Viviers (France) Oral histories (document genres) N., Abraham,--1921- Mizrachi. Maccabi World Union. Breendonk (Concentration camp) Buchenwald (Concentration camp) American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.

    Administrative Notes

    Link to Yale University Library Catalog:
    Record last modified:
    2018-05-30 11:50:00
    This page:

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