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Catharina K. Holocaust testimony (HVT-4316) interviewed by Rik Hemmerijckx

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-4316

Videotape testimony of Catharina K., who was born in Antwerp, Belgium in 1929. She recounts that her father was a widower with two children when he married her mother; their diamond business; being spoiled until the war; their assimilated lifestyle and large extended family; attending a French public school; German invasion; fleeing to Ostend, Paris, Roaillan, then Lisbon; their emigration to Jakarta a few months later to join her half-brother; living in Bandung; her father and brother starting a diamond business; attending a Christian school; Japanese invasion; confiscation of their possessions, then imprisonment in a camp; forced labor; a Japanese beating a friend to death when she did not bow properly; creating sixty-seven small books of sketches; transfer with her mother to another camp near Jakarta; her father's transfer elsewhere; women lighting candles on Sabbath; assistance from her mother's friend who was a nurse; Japanese torturing women who smuggled goods over the fence; many people dying from disease; her mother's illness; liberation in 1945; assistance from British troops; reunion with her father in Bandung; living in Salvation Army quarters; repatriation by the Red Cross via Singapore to Amsterdam; learning almost their entire extended families were killed, including her half-sister; her father's mental illness resulting from the war; his death in 1950; marriage; emigration to the United States with her mother; and their return to Antwerp. Ms. K. discusses the Iraqi Jewish women having the lowest status in the camps; nightmares and physical illnesses resulting from her experiences; sharing her story with her children; identifying herself as a humanist religiously, but ethnically as a Jew; and her artwork, which reflects her war experiences. She shows some of the books she made in the concentration camps.

Author/Creator
K., Catharina, 1927-
Published
Wilrijk, Belgium : Fondation Auschwitz, 2003
Interview Date
March 19, 2003.
Language
Dutch
Copies
2 copies: Betacam SP dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Catharina K. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-4316). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.