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Oral history interview with Jack Ophir

Oral History | Accession Number: 2015.272.1 | RG Number: RG-50.106.0247

Jack Ophir (Jurek/Jacob Feingold), born on April 6, 1938 in Łódź, Poland, discusses his father, Jehuda Leib Feingold, a housewares merchant from an Orthodox family who left the tradition when he married; moving to Warsaw, Poland in late 1942 by train, bus, and through tunnels with his parents and nanny; living in a small apartment in the ghetto from December 1942 to April 1943; his father’s desire to go to Palestine where his family lived; trying to get out to the Aryan side when the ghetto was up in flames during the uprising and sitting on his father’s shoulders and smelling the burning buildings while going through tunnels in the sewers; exiting the ghetto and his family being given Polish papers; going by train for six hours to Bergen-Belsen, living in Block 10 along with nine other children; crying from hunger; seeing prisoners burying knives, combs, and glasses which the children would dig up to play with; how his mother got soup made of water, salt, potato peelings, and beets to serve a few people; his memory of seeing hundreds of people rush to the soup cans and how many died from overeating; seeing yellow stars but how they had no meaning for him; sleeping on the floor; clinging to his mother and then getting separated from her and placed in a camp for abandoned children; reuniting with his mother in Paris, France in June 1945; going to Marseille, France in the fall of 1945; sailing and playing games on the boat with other children from Bergen-Belsen; arriving in Palestine as Jacob Lazar Feingold; being taken to Atlit and then to Tel Aviv to his father’s sister, Leah Blumberg; attending a religious school and learning Hebrew; his father selling piece goods and his mother working as a seamstress; being a physically aggressive and difficult child; feeling joyous at the establishment of the State of Israel; having a Bar Mitzvah in 1951; becoming a more friendly person; becoming a member of the Israeli army in 1956; changing his name to Ophir (a field of gold in the Bible); going to a military academy and becoming an officer in the paratroopers; going to the United States in 1960 and studying in CCNY and the Fashion Institute of Technology; having a women’s store and then going into the antique business; feeling he lost his childhood; and having no feelings towards Poland or Bergen-Belsen since he does not respond emotionally.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Mr. Jack Ophir
Gail Schwartz
interview:  2015 August 16
creation: Washington (D.C.)
2 digital files : WAV.
Record last modified: 2021-05-21 10:23:45
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