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Oral history interview with Ya'akov ben Dror

Oral History | Digitized | Accession Number: 1995.A.1272.186 | RG Number: RG-50.120.0186

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    Oral history interview with Ya'akov ben Dror


    Interview Summary
    Yaakov Ben-Dror (né Ya'akov van Helde), born in Rotterdam, Holland in 1926, discusses his family life; being sent to a rabbinical seminary high school in Amsterdam in May 1940 because Jewish children were not allowed to register in high school; Nazi bombs destroying his street and killing thousands of people and fleeing with his family; his father being in Spain when his mother died and being placed in a Jewish orphanage for a short period; refugees arriving in Holland; the youth movement in Zichron; leaving in 1940 for Amsterdam; being recruited by a British friend of his father to smuggle microfilm to the Maquis in Paris, France; having to register as a Hitler Youth; being arrested and sent to Westerbork and then to Auschwitz in July 1942; life in the camp, including the work and food; observing selections; roll calls and the disposal of bodies; transporting people to the crematorium and vowing that he would avenge them; his loss of faith in God while in Auschwitz; the “Canada” camp; being sent to Birkenau after six months; the arriving transports; the underground in Birkenau and having his name changed; becoming a Kapo’s assistant; falling ill with typhoid fever; working for a camp commander’s wife; an instance of rebellion in the crematorium when a group of women refused to undress and killed several guards; being sent to Oranienburg; walking to work daily in Ohrdruf; being sent to Buchenwald at the beginning of April 1945 and being loaded into a cattle car with the rest of his commando to avoid Allied bombing; being liberated by the Russians; working as a translator and clothing distributor after the war; returning to Holland and finding some surviving relatives; and eventually leaving for Palestine and working with the Armed forces when he arrived there in 1946.
    Ya'akov Ben-Dror
    interview:  1994 June 17
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection

    Physical Details

    8 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
    Ben-Dror, Yaakov, 1926-

    Administrative Notes

    Nathan Beyrak conducted the interview with Ya'akov ben Dror in Israel on June 17, 1994. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Archives received the tapes of the interview on March 1, 1995, as an accretion to the original collection of Israel Documentation Project interviews received by transfer 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 08:15:25
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