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Oral history interview with Ruth Cohen

Oral History | Accession Number: 2014.428.2 | RG Number: RG-50.822.0002

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.

Ruth Renee Cohen (née Friedman), born on April 26, 1930 in Mukačevo, Czechoslovakia (now Mukacheve, Ukraine), describes growing up in an Orthodox family with her parents (Bertha and Herman), her sister (Teresa), and her younger brother (Arnold); her father’s wholesale business manufacturing wine and liqueur and bottling beer; how his business was taken from him in 1938 when their part of Czechoslovakia was annexed by Hungary; attending a special Hebrew gymnasium where all subjects were taught in Hebrew; her parents’ hope to go to the United States; hearing in 1940 or 1941 that her aunt and some cousins had been deported to Majdanek; how life began to change and more restrictions were placed on Jews; her family taking in two of her cousins when their parents were deported; being forced to go to a ghetto just before Passover in 1944; the looting of their house; staying in the ghetto until the end of May when they were transported to Auschwitz; witnessing the shooting of a favorite teacher who refused to get on the train; arriving in Auschwitz and the immediate killing of all her family except her sister and father; Teresa knowing their blockälteste from before the war, which helped them get good jobs; the closing of the crematoria in October 1944 because of a prisoner revolt; being transferred to Nuremberg, where she worked in a spool factory; experiencing terrible back pain in Nuremberg; being transported to Holýšov (Holleischen) to do similar work and remaining there until the end of the war; returning to Mukačevo with her sister and reuniting with their father; living at their grandfather’s house; spending a month at the Children’s Hospital in Budapest, Hungary, where they could find nothing wrong with her despite the persistent pain; discovering she had tuberculosis of the spine; being hospitalized for a year; going to a sanatorium in the Tatry Mountains; going with her father and sister to the United States; working in the day and attending school at night; learning English; speaking to her children about her experiences during the Holocaust; receiving financial remuneration from Germany; her thoughts on the treatment of Nazi criminals within the legal system in Europe; her choice not to watch films on the Holocaust; meeting her husband in 1952; and her three children and eight grandchildren.

Interviewee
Ms. Ruth Cohen
Interviewer
Hannes Ravic
Date
2014  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
1 digital file : MPEG-4.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Hannes Ravic for BILD TV
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:38:51
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn100929