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Oral history interview with Elka Farfel

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

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    Oral history interview with Elka Farfel


    Interview Summary
    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.
    Elka Farfel
    interview:  1996 October 18
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, courtesy of the Jeff and Toby Herr Foundation

    Physical Details

    9 videocassettes (U-Matic) : sound, color ; 3/4 in..

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Topical Term
    Abortion. Childbirth. Escapes. Forced labor. Hiding places--Belarus. Holocaust survivors--Israel--Interviews. Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Personal narratives. Husband and wife. Jewish councils--Belarus--Niasvizh. Jewish ghettos--Belarus--Niasvizh. Jewish refugees--Germany. Jewish women in the Holocaust. Jewish youth--Europe--Societies and clubs. Jews--Belarus--Niasvizh. Jews--Legal status, laws, etc.--Belarus. Jews--Persecutions--Belarus. Jews--Social life and customs. Mass murder--Belarus--Niasvizh. Massacre survivors--Belarus. Massacres--Belarus--Minsk. Massacres--Belarus--Niasvizh. Refugee camps--Germany--Berlin. Synagogues--Belarus--Niasvizh. Women guerrillas--Belarus. World War, 1939-1945--Participation, Female. World War, 1939-1945--Underground movements--Belarus. Women--Personal narratives. Resistance Groups (ushmm)

    Administrative Notes

    Nathan Beyrak conducted the interview with Elka Farfel in Israel on October 18, 1996. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Archives received the tapes of the interview on December 3, 1997, as an accretion to the original collection of Israel Documentation Project interviews received by transfer in February 1995.
    Funding Note
    The production of this interview was made possible by Jeff and Toby Herr.
    The cataloging of this oral history interview has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2023-11-16 08:16:02
    This page:

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