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Oral history interview with Karel Hoffman

Oral History | Accession Number: 1993.A.0087.26 | RG Number: RG-50.091.0026

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

Karel Hoffman describes being 21 years old when he was ordered to report to Terezin, Czechoslovakia to help in the construction of a model prison camp; how Terezin was originally a fortress town from the Austro-Hungarian Empire; the many ironies and falsehoods of this model camp; how the Nazis touted Terezin as having many services, such as a bank, but money was totally worthless within the town; the outward appearance of Terezin versus the actual treatment of inmates within the concentration camp; the poor living conditions; the food rations and overcrowding; the inmates suffering beatings, physical abuse, and intimidation from the Nazis; remaining at Terezin for three years; being one of 5,000 taken to Auschwitz; the horrors of induction at Auschwitz, especially in the later years of the war; being transferred to Gleiwitz, where he participated in the construction of platforms for cannons and machine guns; being liberated at Gleiwitz in 1945; wandering through the woods, witnessing the chaos and confusion; returning to his home to search for family members and being unsuccessful in his search; moving to a displaced persons camp in Germany, where he remained until 1949; being sponsored for immigration to the United States by his aunts in 1949; pursuing furniture and carpentry work in the US; and getting married and having one son.

Interviewee
Karel Hoffman
Interviewer
Sidney Elsner
Date
1984 December 12  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
2 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