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Oral history interview with Iztchak Yudkes

Oral History | Accession Number: 1995.A.1272.263 | RG Number: RG-50.120.0263

Itzchak Yudkes, born in Białystok, Poland in 1926, describes being the younger by sixteen years of two children; attending a Taḥkemoni school; his family's Orthodoxy; participating in a Zionist youth group; attending summer camp in Płatkownica in 1938; antisemitic harassment by children; Soviet occupation in September 1939; German invasion in June 1941; witnessing the main synagogue set on fire with hundreds of Jews inside; ghettoization; working at several jobs; his sister, who was blond, trading possessions outside the ghetto for food; hiding with his family during a mass deportation in February 1943; separation from them; learning his sister, her two children, and his mother had been deported; public hanging of a Jew who had resisted; witnessing the revenge killing of a Jew who had revealed other Jews during the deportation; and separation from his father during liquidation of the ghetto; being deported to a work camp; being transferred to Majdanek, then Bliżyn; slave labor in a fabric mill; hospitalization; recovery; assignment to the kitchen; being transferred to Auschwitz/Birkenau in July 1944; assignment with other youths to a Polish children's barrack; fasting on Yom Kippur; transfer with the other children to Oranienburg, Sachsenhausen, then Ohrdruf; slave labor digging in nearby mountains; a German guard allowing him and a friend to eat from a plum tree; transfer to Neubrandenburg, then Ludwigslust in April 1945; being offered cooked human flesh by Soviet prisoners; liberation by United States troops the next day; returning to Poland seeking relatives; joining a kibbutz in Warsaw; preparing for emigration to Palestine in Sosnowiec; moving with the group to Graz; the Jewish Brigade organizing their illegal emigration from Marseille via Belgium; British interdiction; living on kibbutzim; military draft in 1950; his career as a police officer; and how he often felt disembodied and “outside of himself” during his worst experiences.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Iztchak Yudkes
interview:  1995 November 30
9 videocassettes (U-Matic) : sound, color ; 3/4 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:29:05
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