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Elsie M. Holocaust testimony (HVT-4229) interviewed by Daniel Weyssow and Michel Rosenfeldt

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-4229

Videotape testimony of Elsie M., a non-Jew, who was born in Koblenz, Germany in 1924, one of three children, to a British mother and Belgian father. She recounts her sister's death at age thirty-months in 1925; moving to Brussels in 1929; attending public school in Evere, then Catholic school; German invasion in May 1940; fleeing on foot with her parents and brother; Germans overtaking them in Hazebrouck and returning them to Brussels; her father's resistance activities; Jewish schoolmates wearing the yellow star; Germans arresting Jews in her class; her family hiding Allied aviators since they spoke English; their arrest in November 1942; incarceration in St. Gilles; her brother's release; solitary confinement, interrogations, and severe beatings; clandestine communication with her mother; her family's trial in April 1943 resulting in death sentences; a visit with her parents and brother; receiving a final letter from her father; learning he had been executed on October 20; placement in a cell with her mother; receiving packages from relatives; transfer with her mother on January 1, 1944 to many prisons in France and Germany, ending at Waldheim; slave labor in a factory; sabotaging the work; hospitalization for several months; a prisoner bringing her a flower and sugar on her birthday; transfer to Cottbus in November; placement with other “Nacht und Nebel” prisoners; transfer to Ravensbrück three months later; losing her possessions, including her father's letter; transfer to Mauthausen in the spring; slave labor clearing bombing rubble in Amstettin; her mother's deteriorating condition; liberation; Red Cross transfer to Saint Gall; and repatriation three days later. Ms. M. discusses humiliation and starvation in the camps; camp hierarchies and relations among national groups; postwar depression and nightmares; and reunions with Allied soldiers her family had hidden.

Author/Creator
M., Elsie, 1924-
Published
Brussels, Belgium : Fondation Auschwitz, 1999
Interview Date
June 2 and 3, 1999.
Language
French
Copies
2 copies: Betacam SP dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Elsie M. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-4229). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.