- Interview Summary
- Henry Greenbaum (né Chuna Grynbaum), born in Starachowice, Poland, discusses doing forced labor in a munitions factory at age 16; wearing Jewish stars; the treatment of the youth by the German forces; the ghetto; the death of the majority of his sisters; how those trying to escape were shot and killed; going to Auschwitz and going through the selection process; being given a number and striped pants; how Roma were in a neighboring barrack and many were shot; building roads; how beatings were common; the hanging of one young boy; being sent on a death march; being liberated by American soldiers; being wounded in 1943 and not receiving treatment until 1945 by the Red Cross; and the criticism of Jews from the outside world.
- Henry Greenbaum Remembers
- Mr. Henry Greenbaum
1988 May 06
- Credit Line
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Holocaust Eyewitness Project and Edith Fierst
1 videocassette (U-Matic) : sound, color ; 3/4 in..
Rights & Restrictions
- Conditions on Access
- There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
- Conditions on Use
- Restrictions on use. Donor retains copyright. Third party use requests must be submitted to the donor.
- Copyright Holder
- Holocaust Eyewitness Project
Keywords & Subjects
- Topical Term
- Forced labor--Poland. Concentration camp inmates--Selection process. Death marches. Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Poland--Personal narratives. Holocaust survivors. Jewish ghettos--Poland. Jews--Poland--Starachowice. Romani Genocide, 1939-1945--Poland--Oswiecim. Star of David badges. World War, 1939-1945--Concentration camps--Liberation. World War, 1939-1945--Medical care. Men--Personal narratives.
- Geographic Name
- Oświęcim (Poland) Poland. Starachowice (Poland) United States--Armed Forces. United States--Emigration and immigration.
- Personal Name
- Greenbaum, Henry, 1928-2018.
- Legal Status
- Permanent Collection
- The Holocaust Eyewitness Project produced the interview with Henry Greenbaum on May 6, 1988 in the Washington, D.C. area. Edith Fierst, on behalf of the Holocaust Eyewitness Project, donated a copy of the interview to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1989.
- Funding Note
- The cataloging of this oral history interview has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
- Special Collection
The Jeff and Toby Herr Oral History Archive
- Record last modified:
- 2023-11-16 07:57:55
- This page:
Also in Oral history interviews of the Holocaust Eyewitness Project collection
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Paula Dash, born December 3, 1920 in Łódź, Poland, discusses the German invasion; how Jews were beaten by the Germans; having to wear a star; Jews having to turn in their valuables; her life in the Łódź ghetto from 1940 to 1944; the rations in the ghetto and “ghetto sickness”; the death of her father in the ghetto due to starvation; the deportation of her sister to Treblinka and murder in the gas chamber; the deportation of her brother to Auschwitz and his death during a death march; the hanging of Jews in the street; deaths in the winter of 1943 due to cold and hunger; the daily deportations; how the deported Jews communicated with the ghetto by leaving notes in the wagons and described the atrocities they were seeing; the execution of Jews in Chelmno, Poland; a “Kinder Aktion”, during which the Nazis rounded up children from their homes, put them in a wagon, and burned them alive; being deported in August 1944 with her mother and youngest brother; arriving at Auschwitz and being separated from her family; being given a number but no tattoo; the conditions in the camp; using the latrine; the sleeping conditions; how one afternoon she was sent to the gas chambers, told to undress, made to wait until the next morning to be gassed, and being saved by a sudden need in the camp for 300 women; being sent to Breman to do hard labor until February 1945; being sent on a death march to Bergen-Belsen in March 1945; being crammed with other prisoners in a dark barrack where Nazis poured boiling water on them to quiet them down; seeing piles of dead people; sickness in the camp; watching a mass grave being dug and prisoners dragging bodies to it; seeing some male prisoners become cannibals and how one of these men was then kicked and beaten to death; coming down with typhus and being saved by four friends; being liberated the next day by the British; how she still has a towel she had during her imprisonment and a piece of soap made out of Jewish fat; and her immigration to the United States June 1, 1951.
Nesse Godin describes the decimation of the Jewish community of Šiauliai, Lithuania during World War II and her experiences in forced labor and concentration camps, including Stutthof.
Bela Gondos describes his experience in Bergen-Belsen, from which he, his wife, and daughter were freed along with hundreds of other prisoners as a result of ransom negotiations led by Rudolph Kastner.
Maryla Korn, born June 10, 1938 in Krakow, Poland, describes her family; how her father and grandfather fled Krakow, believing that nothing would happen to women and children if there was a war; going with her mother in 1940 to Wieliczka, Poland, then Buchnia, Poland; the deportation of her young uncle and his death; how her family would send her back to Krakow whenever they heard of a coming aktion; hiding in a tree for a few hours during one aktion; going to the ghetto in 1942; never being hungry; having friends on the outside of the ghetto who helped them; getting whooping cough in 1943; how the men and women were separated in the ghetto; traveling through the Carpathian Mountains with 15 other people; how her cough disappeared suddenly; hiding during the day and hiking at night; being caught on the Czech side of the mountains; the separation of men and women in the prison; being freed while others were shot; how the Joint helped them and sent them to Hungary on foot; being caught on the Hungarian border; being sent to a prison in Budapest; living with Romani and being visited by nuns and priests; how a priest counterfeited papers to release them; going to Kalocsa, Hungary and avoiding the other Polish Jews whom they knew; pretending to be Catholic; being caught but not being deported because the truck carrying them to a train broke down; how her mother sneaked into the mayor’s office and stamped their papers so their group would be able to leave; going back to Budapest where the Joint was located; walking to Romania alone with her mother in 1944; being by the Joint to a train; calming her mother down as they waited in some bushes next to the train station; how she was hidden by being wrapped like a package and put on a rack while her mother clung to the outside of the train when the policeman came to check papers; finding friends from Łódź, Poland in Romania; being prevented to board a ship to Palestine and learning later that this ship was torpedoed; being liberated by the Russians, who dropped fruit and candies from planes; staying in Romania for six months before returning to Hungary; and how no one but her mother and father survived.
Helen Luksenburg and William Luksenburg describe the how they endured terrible hardships in concentration camps, including Blechhammer, Flossenbürg, and Ravensbrück; how William was injured in the stone quarry at Flossenbürg; marching to Ravensbrück and his strategies for surviving the death march; how he collapsed unnoticed during the march and being saved by a farmer; how he was treated with DDT for lice by the U.S. army; meeting each other as prisoners in the camps; and how they reunited after the war.
Abe Malnik discusses the German invasion of Kaunas, Lithuania when he was 13 years old; his family and upbringing; the creation of the ghetto; his memories of mass murder in Kaunas; hiding in a cellar with two women who had infants; how one of the mothers suffocated her own infant to prevent it from crying and betraying their location; the demand by the Germans for the Jews’ furs and jewelry; being transported to Germany on a cattle car; going first to Stutthof, which is the last place he saw his mother; being transferred to Dachau, where he had to collect dead bodies and put them in a ravine; being sent to Flossenbürg and then to Leitmeritz, Czechoslovakia; his experiences in a hospital and realizing he would be killed if he stayed there; and his memories of liberation by the Soviet forces. (The testimony begins at minute 7:14.)
Lou Pohoryles, born in L’vov, Poland (present day L'viv, Ukraine) in 1937, describes his family; how his father was a highly ranked tennis player; going to a series of hiding places; how his father at the beginning of the war placed him in the care of a Polish nun, who protected him; being instructed to identify the nun as his aunt and hide his true identity; being given to her sister, Anya Baska; traveling through partisan areas and fearing the Ukrainians; being transported on a cattle car to a labor camp in Germany with Anya and ending up on a farm; going to an ammunitions factory because Anya was needed there; learning German and befriending tank soldiers; the death of his parents; how after the war he was reclaimed by an uncle, who was a religious man; how as a boy he identified as Catholic; how being separated from Anya and thrust into Judaism was traumatic; never seeing Anya again; and immigrating to the United States.
Harriet Steinhorn-Roth, born April 12, 1929 in Łódź, Poland, describes being 10 years old when the war began; not being able to go to school; the laws restricting Jews; going to the ghetto with her family; the deportation of Jews who could not pay off soldiers; how at age 14 she took her mother’s place doing forced labor and was taken to a concentration camp; working in a manufacturing company, which specialized in two chemical gases; how most of the workers were sickly and yellow from exposure to the gases; the day-to-day activities of the camp; the spread of dysentery and typhus; how her little sister visited her and brought her things; how six weeks after she went to the camp, the ghetto was raided and her mother went to a nearby work camp; not being one of the people selected for release; the deportation of Jews in the Łódź ghetto to Treblinka; getting typhus and being carried by other prisoners so she could avoid being sent to the sick ward, where she risked being shot; being sent to the sick ward but being rescued by a Jewish commander; going to her mother’s camp a year later; going to Czestochowa, Buchenwald, and Bergen-Belsen; being liberated April 15, 1945; going to a German hospital and having tuberculosis and typhus; going to Sweden for medical treatment; immigrating to the United States in 1949; getting married and having children; and teaching about religion and the Holocaust.
Richard Schifter, born in Vienna, Austria in 1923, describes the antisemitism in Vienna and planning to immigrate to the United States; his Polish parents; hearing on March 11, 1938 about the German annexation of Austria; being an only child; his family waiting too long to file for an immigrant visa to the US; being eligible for a visa to the US; segregation in his school and being ignored by the non-Jewish students; attending a Jewish school; leaving Vienna in December 1938; his parents’ drug store and how they experienced antisemitic boycotts; his parents reporting to the police station on October 27, 1938 and being told to leave the country after being detained for many hours; his parents’ fates in Majdanek concentration camp; staying with his grandmother’s brother in the US; the quota system in the US; Kristallnacht; going to the US and trying to get visas for his parents, who were in Poland; entering the US Army in 1943; learning of his parents’ deaths; learning from the New York Times in 1941 about the rumors of mass killings of Jews in Europe; and present day antisemitism in Europe.
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Leon Senders, born in Vilna, Poland (now Vilnius, Lithuania) in 1923, describes his early life; being 17 when the war started; his father advising him to flee the area and go east; traveling with his friends to Russia; his feelings on losing his youth to the war; the death of his parents and other family members; the bombing of Vilna; being mobilized by the Russian Army; being sent to a special school in Moscow, Russia, where he was trained as a radio operator; flying on a DC-3 and parachuting into an area behind enemy lines; being given his orders to go to Konigsberg (Kaliningrad, Russia) and relay messages back to Russia; working with Jewish partisan groups to gather information; traveling with the partisans and experiencing heavy combat; how he and the partisans survived in the woods; fighting Lithuanians and Germans; returning home after the war and experiencing anguish over the loss of his family; deciding to leave Europe; finding one of his sisters, who survived Bergen-Belsen; and his reasons for speaking about the Holocaust.
Flora Singer discusses her preteen and teenage years in hiding in Belgium during the Holocaust.
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Marion Wolff discusses her experiences as a schoolchild in Nazi Germany, including her memories of Kristallnacht and her family’s escape from Germany to the United States at the start of the war.