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Oral history interview with Otto Presburger

Oral History | Accession Number: 1995.A.1272.341 | RG Number: RG-50.120.0341

Otto Pressburger, born on June 29, 1923 in Trnava, Czechoslovakia (Slovakia), describes his father, who was a leather merchant; growing up in a financially stable family; being the youngest of five brothers; his family practicing Orthodox Judaism, but all the children were interested in the Zionist movement; experiencing a little antisemitism growing up; the Nazis imposing prohibitions on the Jews of his town in 1938; being sent to a work camp in Trentschin (Trencin, Slovakia) in 1940; escaping and returning home where he built roads; his family being separated and sent to different Nazi camps in March 1942; being sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau; being placed in Block A of Birkenau where he built roads; conditions in the camp; witnessing Nazi guards killing Jews; being sent back and forth between Auschwitz and Birkenau to help erect a school and other camp buildings; being sent also to Harmeze and Budy for short periods to do construction and other work; being in the infamous Block 11 at Auschwitz, where people were shot in its basement; befriending a Kapo, named Kozelchik, who helped him and other Jews be safe and get extra food; how in 1944 resistance against the camps’ Nazis began to increase; being evacuated to Gross-Rosen in January 1945; his group not stopping in Gross-Rosen and continuing on through the Sudetenland; arrived in Karlovy Vary, Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic); being caught and sent to the camp Muelsen-St. Micheln; escaping disguised as a Czech political prisoner; being caught after an American attack and ended up in the camp Litomerice; being deported to Flossenbürg and escaping with a friend from the train; traveling to the village of Hradec Králové, Czech Republic, where a farmer housed them and was the head of the local underground movement; staying there until the end of the war; returning home and joining a group leaving for Palestine; arriving in Palestine on April 15, 1947; being injured when the British attacked his ship and spending time in a hospital; being transferred to Atlit, where one of his brothers found him; reunited with his mother in Tel Aviv; joining the Israeli Army in 1948; marrying in 1950; and considering Auschwitz as a school for life.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Otto Presburger
interview:  1998 April 01
11 videocasettes (Betacam SP) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, courtesy of the Jeff and Toby Herr Foundation
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:29:21
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