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Oral history interview with Ya'akov ben Dror

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

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.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Ben-Dror, Ya'akov
interview:  1994 June 17
8 videocassettes (U-Matic) : sound, color ; 3/4 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
Record last modified: 2022-06-24 20:19:10
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