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Oral history interview with Helena Hammershmash

Oral History | Digitized | Accession Number: 1995.A.1272.61 | RG Number: RG-50.120.0061

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    Oral history interview with Helena Hammershmash


    Interview Summary
    Helena Hammershmash (née Rosenberg), born in Turka, Ukraine, describes her childhood in a religious, well-to-do family; moving to Czechoslovakia at age 15; joining a Zionist youth group; meeting her future husband in Turka; how the Germans entered Turka in 1941; Ukrainian-led pogroms; Nazi-led Aktions and her interrogation and release by the Gestapo; her escape with her husband and baby to Budapest, Hungary; going with her husband to a refugee camp under assumed identities, passing as non-Jewish Hungarians; being taken to Tokay, Hungary, and subsequently deported from a camp near Yugoslavia in April 1944; her arrival in Auschwitz; conditions in the camp and living in Birkenau in Block 13; the social hierarchy in the camp and the female Kapos; being moved to Auschwitz I; the hanging of some of her friend at the end of 1944; being sent on a death march to Bergen Belsen; getting typhoid fever; being liberated by the British; working as a nurse with the British and later Belgian doctors in the tuberculosis ward; how she hid the evidence she had written down and her poems; being sent by UNRRA to study medicine in Munich, Germany; testifying against the SS in a British military court; meeting up with her husband in Rome, Italy; and their journey to Palestine and life in Israel.
    Helena Hammershmash
    interview:  1991 April 21
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection

    Physical Details

    11 videocassettes (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
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Personal Name
    Hammershmash, Helena.

    Administrative Notes

    Nathan Beyrak conducted the interview with Helena Hammershmash in Israel on April 21,1991, for the Israel Documentation Project. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Archives received the tapes of the interview by transfer from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Oral History Dept. in February 1995.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this oral history interview has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2023-11-16 08:14:44
    This page:

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