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Oral history interview with Ziuta Grunhut

Oral History | Accession Number: 1995.A.1272.260 | RG Number: RG-50.120.0260

Ziuta Grunhut, born in 1927 in Kraków, Poland, discusses being the younger of two children in an affluent family; her father's architectural business; attending a Polish school; speaking and reading German at home; vacationing in Zakopane; an Austrian cousin living with them after the Anschluss; the increasing tension in 1939; her parents sending her brother to England; vacationing in Muszyna in the summer of 1939; returning home in late August when her father was drafted; his rejection and return; the German invasion on September 1; her father fleeing with his three brothers and a brother-in-law; his return; her expulsion from school; Germans living in their house; doing forced labor clearing snow; a non-Jewish friend taking over her father's business; her father continuing to manage it, thus earning a living; ghettoization; leaving their valuables with Ruzia, their non-Jewish maid; Ruzia bringing them food; her father continuing to work in his former business; her assignment to a factory outside the ghetto; smuggling food back to the ghetto; she and her parents having false documents as Poles; her father's younger brother returning and living with them; deportations beginning in 1942; her mother's brother protecting her mother from deportation (he was in the Jewish police); her father's assignment to help build Płaszów; moving there with her parents in March 1943; continuing to work in the factory outside Płaszów; Ruzia bringing her food to smuggle in and sharing it with others; her father being severely beaten several times; the camp kommandant Amon Goeth killing many, but sparing her and her mother once; her father bringing his sister's two children to Płaszów (they had been with their non-Jewish nanny); the deportation of most of the prisoners in late 1944; how those left behind were made to destroy the buildings and disinter and burn the bodies to destroy evidence of what occurred there; a forced march to Auschwitz/Birkenau on January 14, 1945; separation from her father and the children (the children survived); speaking to her father through the fence the last time she saw him; a death march with her mother, then transport on open trains to Bergen-Belsen; the filth, starvation, and a typhus epidemic; caring for her mother as her condition deteriorated; volunteering for transfer; slave labor in a factory in Venusberg; receiving assistance from friends from Płaszów; being hospitalized for typhus; her mother joining her; a sixteen-day train transport to Mauthausen via Gusen; Czechs bringing food during a stop; her mother's death during the journey; losing her will to live; receiving assistance from the women her mother had enlisted to care for her; a woman giving birth in her barrack; liberation by United States troops on May 5; returning to Ruzia's home in June; reuniting with friends and a cousin; learning her father had been killed; living with her uncle and aunt; being contacted by her brother in February 1946; her marriage to her former boyfriend; visiting her brother in Liverpool in November; returning to her husband in Kraków ten months later; their son's birth in 1948; their futile efforts to emigrate until their 1957 immigration to Israel; her daughter's birth; her husband's death in 1989; testifying at Goeth's trial; details of her camp experiences; the reversal of values and her pervasive fear in camps; the impact of total starvation; and she and her husband sharing their experiences with their children. (She shows documents and photographs at the end of the recording.)


Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Interviewee
Ms. Ziuta Grunhut
Date
interview:  1995 November 17
Language
Polish
Extent
6 videocassettes (U-Matic) : sound, color ; 3/4 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
 
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:45:44
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn503081