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Oral history interview with Ziuta Grunhut

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

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.

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.)

Interviewee
Ms. Ziuta Grunhut
Date
1995 November 17  (interview)
Language
Polish
Extent
6 videocassettes (U-Matic) : sound, color ; 3/4 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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Record last modified: 2018-08-09 10:32:51
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn503081