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Oral history interview with Annie Bleiberg

Oral History | Accession Number: 2014.428.1 | RG Number: RG-50.822.0001

Annie Bleiberg (née Wertman), born on October 1, 1920 in Oleszyce, Poland, describes her parents, Isaac and Sophie Wertman; her younger sister Helen; moving with her family to Jarosław, Poland when she was 10 years old; her father’s leather goods business; having a happy childhood; attending high school; being a leader in the Zionist organization, Akiba; eating kosher food at home; experiencing antisemitism from a high school teacher; the German invasion in 1939 and being forced out of their home; going to the Russian occupied territory in eastern Poland, specifically her grandfather’s house in Oleszyce; the curfew during the Russian occupation; working with her father in a sawmill; the German occupation in 1941; the banning of Jewish texts; Yom Kippur during the occupation; hiding with her family in a hole in the earth on her grandfather’s property; how in October 1942 all the Jews in the nearby towns were forced into the Lubaczów ghetto; staying in the ghetto for three months; life in the ghetto; being warned about the liquidation the day before it occurred; hiding with her family in the attic of the house they lived in the ghetto; being discovered in their hiding place and taken to a warehouse outside the city; being deported with her family a day later to Bełżec extermination camp and escaping from the train after her father and being separated from him; receiving some help from a Polish watchman near the train tracks and returning to the ghetto; reuniting with her father in their house in the ghetto; hiding for four weeks in a barn belonging to some of their non-Jewish friends; receiving false papers from the Polish underground; being on a train heading to Germany when she was beaten by Poles and imprisoned in Kraków, Poland (this was February 1943); the liquidation of the Kraków ghetto; being sent to Birkenau; being tattooed; daily life in the camp; her work cleaning up debris from bombs; the women prisoners ceasing to menstruate; helping to translate between prisoners in the camp; working in the Kanada kommando; being taken by train in October 1944 to a small camp in Czechoslovakia (probably Mährisch Weisswasser in Bila Voda, Czech Republic); being liberated by the Russians; working for the Russians as a bookkeeper; going to Prague, Czech Republic; searching for her father in Poland, going to Katowice and Lublin; living in Oleszyce again but not wanting to stay; going to Breslau (Wroclaw, Poland) and getting married on April 7, 1946; moving to Bayreuth, Germany and the birth of her daighter; immigrating to the United States in 1950; the difficulty of adjusting to life in the US; her reflections on the Holocaust; and her wish to live as fully as she can.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Bleiberg, Annie
Ravic, Hannes
interview:  2014
1 digital file : MPEG-4.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Hannes Ravic for BILD TV
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 20:13:07
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