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Oral history interview with Elka Farfel

Oral History | Accession Number: 1995.A.1272.295 | RG Number: RG-50.120.0295

Elka Farfel, born in Nyasvizh, Poland (Niasvizh, Belarus) in 1920, describes being the oldest of four children; meeting her future husband in 1932; participating in Hashomer Hatzair; Jewish life in her town and the ten synagogues; hearing about Kristallnacht; the Soviet occupation in September 1939 and the atmosphere under the Russians; German invasion in June 1941; anti-Jewish harassment; forced labor; surviving a selection in October with her future husband and their families (almost all other Jews were killed); Magalif (head of the Judenrat) giving them permission to wed; her marriage in February; Magalif discouraging people from escaping so the elderly and children would not be killed; hiding with her husband and father-in-law during the ghetto's liquidation (her family perished); their escape from the ghetto when it was being burned and witnessing the murder of other escaping Jews; her husband writing a book about their experiences; going to the nearby forest; joining the partisans in another forest, where Machwinsky from Łódź, Poland was their commander; life with the partisans; leaving the group; the massacre in Minsk, Belarus; building a bunker in the forest with the Minsk massacre survivors; joining Zorin’s partisan group; the siege of the forest by Germans; her husband becoming gravely ill; Lipshitz, a gynecologist from Minsk, performed abortions in a small field hospital in the forest; helping delivery babies; getting pregnant; the Neufeld family who brought five children to the partisans; partisan activities in May 1943; being liberated by the Russian Army; going to Navahrudak, Belarus then Niasvizh; her husband being a witness in the trials of collaborators; escaping to Łódź in April 1945; going to Germany then France; the day the war ended; being taken to Berlin, Germany to an American camp (possibly Schlachtensee); life in the DP camp Tempelhof; and going to Israel in 1949 through Italy.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Elka Farfel
interview:  1996 October 18
9 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: 2022-04-21 07:09:26
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