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Oral history interview with Elias Cala

Oral History | Accession Number: 1993.A.0087.12 | RG Number: RG-50.091.0012

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

Elias Cala, born in Dobrzyn (Golub-Dobrzyń), Poland, describes the Jewish population in the area; being the third of five children in a close, loving family; his father being extremely religious; the lack of anti-Semitism in Dobrzyn prior to 1934; working at a cousin’s shoe store in Lodz, Poland in 1936 when he was 16 years old; his father’s death in 1938; being drafted into the army in 1939; his unit being on the German boarder when Germany invaded; a fierce battle lasting several days; his unit being taken prisoner by the Germans; the Jews being immediately separated from the rest of the unit and pretending he was a gentile with the help of his fellow soldiers; the non-Jewish prisoners being released soon after their capture; staying with his cousin in Lodz; going to Dobrzyn, where the Germans were persecuting Jews; being expelled from Dobrzyn; settling in a town near the Russian border with his aunt and uncle and their children; getting married; being deported to a camp at Dzialdowo, and then sent to a ghetto in Piotrkov; escaping with his wife and going to Warsaw, Poland; going to Nalewaj, where they found his wife's family; working on a road crew, but getting sick and being hospitalized; being badly burned during a fire; his wife giving birth to a daughter; being deported to Auschwitz; being separated from his wife and baby; being sent to an I.G. Farben factory; the bombing of the factory; being evacuated and forced to move from camp to camp; going to Mauthausen and Oranienburg; being left at Flossenburg; being transferred to a work-camp near Stuttgart, Germany; being evacuated from Stuttgart and traveling again from camp to camp; hiding in a haystack with 21 others; being discovered and many of them being shot; surviving and being taken in by villagers and given food and clothing; being liberated by the Americans on May 1, 1945; remaining in Germany, where he got married again; moving to the US in March 1949; living in Beachwood, Ohio; and his five children.

Interviewee
Elias Cala
Interviewer
Bea Stadtler
Date
1984 September 10  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
3 videocassettes (U-Matic) : sound, color ; 3/4 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the National Council of Jewish Women Cleveland Section
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:42:45
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn504953