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Monsignor John W. Holocaust testimony (HVT-936) interviewed by Dana L. Kline and Lucille B. Ritvo,

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-936

Videotape testimony of Monsignor John W., who was born in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1905. He tells of his parents' emigration from Russian Poland in the 1890s; graduate education in Switzerland and summers in Poland in 1928-1930; serving as a U.S. Army chaplain during the war; and his ministry in the Twentieth Armored Division, which captured Munich. He vividly recalls their entry into Dachau; learning of the deaths of some 1,000 Polish priests there; visiting the crematoria where victims were still being burned; viewing mutilated bodies of kapos and guard dogs massacred by the freed prisoners; surviving priests asking him for Catholic breviaries, not food; their description of religious observances in the camps; and later, forced repatriation of liberated prisoners to Poland, their native land. Monsignor W. discusses his initial disbelief at what he saw and the reluctance of Americans at home to hear of his experience. He explains the Holocaust as the result of "turning our backs on God" and emphasizes adherence to high spiritual and ethical values if future Holocausts are to be avoided.

W., John, 1905-
New Haven, Conn. : Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale, 1987
Interview Date
July 14, 1987.
Salem (Mass.)
Munich (Germany)
United States
3 copies: 3/4 in. master; 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Monsignor John W. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-936). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.