Jaak S. Holocaust testimony (HVT-4305) interviewed by Rik Hemmerijckx
- Brussels, Belgium : Fondation Auschwitz, 2002
- Interview Date
- April 17, 2002.
- 2 copies: Betacam SP master; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
- Cite As
- Jaak S. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-4305). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
Videotape testimony of Jaak S., who was born in Antwerp, Belgium in 1917, one of two brothers. He recounts his father's death when he was seven; a totally assimilated lifestyle; visits to his maternal grandparents in Leipzig; his older brother mentoring him; attending school to be a diamond cutter; working with his mother (she had a boarding house/restaurant/public bath), and in his uncle's diamond business; military service in the mid-1930s; recall when Germany invaded in May 1940; ruining as much ordnance as they could when defeat was imminent; surrendering at Bruges; arrest en route home for not wearing his uniform; imprisonment for four weeks; his mother and brother hiding; joining the Resistance in Liège; marriage in summer 1943; arrest three weeks later; imprisonment in St. Leonard, then transfer to Auschwitz via other locations in Germany and Poland; his designation as a political prisoner, not a Jew; transfer to Buna/Monowitz; slave labor in several privileged commandos; receiving packages from his wife and the Red Cross; sharing extra food with others; singing with Italian prisoners (he sings one song); public hangings; the death march in January 1945; escaping with others; liberation by Soviet troops; repatriation via Warsaw, Odesa, and Naples; and reunion with his wife and mother. Mr. S. discusses attributing his survival to speaking German; his designation as a political prisoner, but primarily to luck; absence of prisoner solidarity; and seldom speaking of his experiences until recently. He shows photographs and documents.