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Oral history interview with Edward Klein

Oral History | Accession Number: 2010.183 | RG Number: RG-50.030.0580

Edward Klein (né Isaac Klein), born circa 1926, discusses his childhood in Sieradz, Poland; having two older brothers who were partisans in Poland; his father’s merchant business; speaking Yiddish and Polish at home; being forced to move with his family to the Łódź Ghetto in March 1940; settling into life in the ghetto; his father’s work digging for potatoes; his job of sewing leather; befriending residents of the Łódź Ghetto orphanage; his father’s death in the ghetto; searching for his father’s remains later in life; difficulties in finding his birth certificate and exact date of birth; studying poetry; being beaten by a policeman for bringing bread to his mother; his mother’s deportation from the ghetto; the Culture House in the Łódź ghetto; his memory of Bolek Jakubowicz who was in charge of distributing apartments in the ghetto; being placed in Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski’s house, which was divided into four apartments; being given clothes and access to food; Dr. Rabiner Berliner who became his instructor in logic, math, and German; living in Rumkowski’s apartment; the privileged circle of ghetto officials with whom he lived; the various people who came through Rumkowski’s household; rumors that the Germans were planning on leaving the Łódź ghetto; the “ranks” and strata in the ghetto; orphanages and schools in the Łódź ghetto and Rumkowski’s role in them; people’s opinions of Rumkowski; wanting to be deported to Auschwitz with his friends; how a Gestapo informant, Gertler, was not only aware of what would happen in the ghetto, but was also a perpetrator; relationships ghetto officials had with Germans; final deportations in 1944 from the Łódź ghetto; his deportation to Auschwitz; how Rumkowski arrived at Auschwitz one week later; being sent to Mauthausen; German SS guards at Mauthausen; being chosen to peel potatoes; being told by a guard that he would not die, but would work for the Reich after the war; a German guard who wanted sexual favors from him; prisoners from Theresienstadt; Dina Gottliebova Babbitt, an Auschwitz inmate who did portrait drawings for Dr. Mengele; the Terezin family camp; being given a diamond by another prisoner; providing food and clothing to other prisoners in the camp; falling in love with a Polish woman who worked in a factory; being given special attention by SS guards; needing medical attention while in Mauthausen; how an SS guard operated on him; how another inmate tried to kill him in Mauthausen; an attack on Mauthausen; leaving Mauthausen and eating grass to survive; spending time in a hospital in Austria after liberation; and living in Montreal, Canada.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Edward Klein
Mr. Jacek Nowakowski
interview:  2010 August 16
3 digital files : WAV.
Record last modified: 2021-02-16 15:51:44
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