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Oral history interview with Thomas Buergenthal

Oral History | Accession Number: 1990.341.1 | RG Number: RG-50.030.0046

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.

Thomas Buergenthal, born in 1934 in Czechoslovakia, describes his family; moving with his family to Žilina, Czechoslovakia in 1938 and facing persecution from the Hlinka Guard; moving to Katowice, Poland and registering with the British Consul; leaving for England on September 1, 1939 but being stopped near the Russian border when their train was bombed by Germans; having to march with a group of refugees to Kielce, Poland and go into its ghetto; the deportation of his grandparents and twenty thousand other ghetto inhabitants in August 1942 to Treblinka while he and his parents were sent to a forced labor camp in Kielce; surviving a massacre of Jewish children and then being transported with his parents to a factory where they made wooden carts for the Eastern Front; his deportation in August 1944 to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where he worked in the laundry as an errand boy; getting separated from his father and never seeing him again; being forced on a death march to Gliwice, Poland and then to Heinkel concentration camp in Oranienburg, Germany in January 1945; his transfer to a sub-camp of Sachsenhausen; his liberation on April 27, 1945 by Russian soldiers; marching with the First Polish Division into Berlin, Germany and Siedlce, Poland and then being placed in a Jewish orphanage in Otwock, Poland; his mother finding him in 1946 and smuggling him into the British zone of Germany; living in Göttingen, Germany and attending high school there; immigrating by himself to the United States in 1951 to live with his uncle; his mother remarrying and staying in Europe; attending Harvard Law School and becoming a professor of International Law at the George Washington University Law School; and serving on the United Nations Human Rights Committee and the United States Holocaust Memorial Council’s Committee on Conscience.

Interviewee
Thomas Buergenthal
Interviewer
Linda G. Kuzmack
Date
1990 January 29  (interview)
Language
English
Genre/Form
Oral histories.
Extent
2 videocasettes (Betacam SP) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:51:07
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn504546