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Oral history interview with Aleksander Henryk Laks

Oral History | Accession Number: 2005.603.3 | RG Number: RG-50.637.0003

Aleksander Henryk Laks (né Chaim Benzion Cale), born in Łódź, Poland in 1927, describes taking his mother’s last name, Laks, after the war; being active in the Holocaust survivors community in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; growing up in a Jewish family in Łódź; his birth mother dying when he was a young child and being raised by his step-mother, Balcie; economic conditions in Poland; attending public school; the German invasion in 1939; the abuse his grandfather suffered and his disappearance; his school closing and being forced to wear a yellow star; the restrictions placed on Jews; the sealing of the ghetto in May 1940; life in the ghetto, including their apartment, food, and school; his bar mitzvah in 1940; the deportation of children from the ghetto; working 12 hour days in a metal workshop; hiding in August 1944 when the ghetto was being liquidated; being deported with his family to Auschwitz; his step-mother’s death in the camp; arriving in the camp and the selections; being shaved, beaten, and tattooed; being sent to the Gross-Rosen subcamp Kaltwasser; having several teeth forcibly removed; being sent to camp Lärche; being sent to Flossenbürg, where his father was killed by a Kapo; being sent with other inmates to Bodensee to be drowned; being sent by train to Offenburg, Germany to clean up the town after a bombing; being taken to Emmendingen, Germany, where he was liberated; his physical condition upon liberation; traveling to Emmendingen in 2004; and several photographs he has from the ghetto (he shows them to the camera).

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Aleksander H. Laks
Ms. Teresa A. Pollin
interview:  2005 January 24
3 videocassettes (MiniDV).
Record last modified: 2021-02-16 15:53:13
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