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Oral history interview with Thomas Buergenthal

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

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.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Thomas Buergenthal
Linda G. Kuzmack
interview:  1990 January 29
Oral histories.
2 videocasettes (Betacam SP) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
Record last modified: 2023-11-16 08:00:27
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