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Oral history interview with Meir Gecht

Oral History | Accession Number: 1995.A.1272.282 | RG Number: RG-50.120.0282

Meir Gecht, born in Kaunus, Lithuania in 1929, describes being an only child; attending a secular Jewish school; the Soviet occupation; German invasion; his father's arrest by Lithuanians (they released him because he was a Lithuanian army veteran); ghettoization; attending a vocational school; his deportation to Stutthof, then Landsberg in July 1944; being separated from his father when he was sent with other children to Dachau; remaining in Dachau for a week and avoiding execution because the crematorium was undergoing repairs; his transfer to Auschwitz/Birkenau; slave labor; a friend arranging to have his number removed from a selection list; a death march and train transfer to Mauthausen; observing cannibalism; a death march to Gunskirchen; abandonment by German guards; walking to Wels, Austria; liberation by United States troops; taking food from German homes; being sent to a displaced persons camp; assistance from the Joint and a Jewish-American soldier; traveling to Budapest, Hungary, then Transylvania; living in a Soviet displaced persons camp; traveling to Orsha, then Vilna; reuniting with his father; learning his mother was alive in the Soviet Union; her arrival in 1946; being drafted into the Soviet military in 1950; serving near Moscow, Russia; discharge in 1954; his marriage to a survivor; the birth of twins; immigrating to Poland, then Israel in 1957 with his parents, wife, and children; the importance of his group of friends to his survival and their annual meetings to the present day; relations between ethnic groups in the camps; the publication in South Africa of his experiences as part of a larger book; and sharing very little of his experiences with his children, not wanting to burden them. He also shows photographs.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Meir Gecht
interview:  1996 July 18
4 videocassettes (U-Matic) : sound, color ; 3/4 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, courtesy of the Jeff and Toby Herr Foundation
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:29:10
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