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Klara S. Holocaust testimony (HVT-4294) interviewed by Joanne Weiner Rudof and Lawrence L. Langer,

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-4294

Videotape testimony of Klara S., who was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1927. She recounts attending a Jewish school; her father's medical practice; bombing of their building during German invasion marking the end of her childhood; illegally entering Soviet-occupied territory with her mother in November; living with relatives in Białystok; her father joining them in spring 1940; arrest by Soviets while illegally attempting to enter Lithuania; brief imprisonment with her mother in Lida; her father's imprisonment in Baranovichi; returning to Białystok in May; living in Slonim; attending a Soviet school; German invasion in June 1941; her father's release; his former patient assisting them to return to Warsaw; living in the Warsaw ghetto; her uncle's non-Jewish maid returning their possessions; not suffering compared to most due to her father's practice; studying with tutors; being caught in a round-up; her father smuggling them out of the Umschlagplatz; obtaining false papers; hiding during round-ups; her father arranging their escape with non-Jewish friends; hiding with non-Jews in Konstancin; hearing of an exchange program for Jews in Warsaw's Hotel Polski; traveling there in summer 1943; placement on the Palestine list; and deportation to Bergen-Belsen.

Ms. S. recalls living in a separate barrack; deportation of those with foreign citizenship; privileges, particularly not having to work; petitioning Kommandant Josef Kramer to choose their own leaders; her father being chosen; community cohesiveness including trading possessions as a group for extra food, assisting the children, telling stories, singing, and staging skits; her friend's suicide attempt; her mother's death from illness in December 1943; three barrack transfers as their group diminished; train transport; liberation by United States troops in May 1945; transfer to Hillersleben; interpreting for American military doctors; traveling to Paris with her father; emigration to Palestine, then to the United States two years later; attending university; marriage; and her father joining her in 1959. Ms. S. discusses friendships in Bergen-Belsen; keeping a diary; hunger and fear; the importance of luck and decent people to her survival; seldom sharing her experiences; her father's emotional difficulties beginning with her mother death; and catharsis in writing a book about her experiences. She shows photographs, documents, her diary, and book.

S., Klara, 1927-
New Haven, Conn. : Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, 2004
Interview Date
May 7, 2004.
Warsaw (Poland)
Białystok (Poland)
Lida (Belarus)
Slonim (Belarus)
Konstancin-Jeziorna (Poland)
Hillersleben (Germany)
Paris (France)
Tel Aviv (Israel)
3 copies: DVCam Master; Betacam SP dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Klara S. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-4294). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
View in Yale University Library Catalog:
Record last modified: 2018-06-04 13:28:00
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