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Oral history interview with Leonard Zawacki

Oral History | Accession Number: 1996.A.0358 | RG Number: RG-50.549.01.0012

Leonard Zawacki, born January 20, 1916 in German-controlled northwest Poland, describes being brought up as a Catholic and having a comfortable, good life; taking part in the defense of Warsaw, Poland September 28, 1939; being sent to Auschwitz, where he joined forces with the underground; escaping and living for four months in the Carpathian Mountains with about 100 partisans; the scenes of total chaos after Auschwitz was liberated by the Russians on January 28, 1940; returning home briefly; moving to Krakow, then to Italy, and then to Great Britain; immigrating to the United States in 1951; going first to New York and then to Milwaukee, WI, where he was married and worked for various financial institutions; moving back to New York in 1978 and becoming an executive in the finance industry; having become more tolerant, understanding, and forgiving as a result of his war experiences; his view that the Polish did more to help Jews than any other nation; his views on the actions of Lithuanians and Ukrainians; the uncertainty of life as being the worst part of Auschwitz; and his greatest sense of pride was having been able to escape from Auschwitz, having been able to outwit the Germans.


Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Interviewee
Leonard T. Zawacki
Interviewer
D. Roberts
Date
interview:  1996 June 29
Language
English
Extent
3 sound cassettes (60 min.).
 
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:30:23
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn504918