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Oral history interview with Leo Rzepka

Oral History | Accession Number: 1993.A.0087.43 | RG Number: RG-50.091.0043

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

Leo Rzepka, born in 1913 in Ruckzyn, Poland, describes the Jewish community in his hometown; being one of nine children (five girls and four boys); his father, who was a wagon-wheel maker; working with his father after finishing school at age 13; the German invasion of Poland in 1939 and his family fleeing to Russia, where they lived for several years; attending chauffeur's school, from which he graduated two days before the Germans invaded Russia; life becoming difficult for Jews in Russia; trying with one of his brothers and one sister to return to the home of one of his sisters in Poland; living for many months in the woods and staying with farmers in exchange for work; going to a small concentration camp in Zembrov in late 1942 with his sister, brother, and brother-in-law; remaining there for three weeks until January 1943 when they were deported to Auschwitz; working as a carpenter; spending time in Birkenau; being evacuated in January 1945 to Mauthausen and then to Ebensee, Austria, where he worked in the stone quarries; being liberated by the Americans on May 5, 1945; going to Israel illegally; being intercepted by the British and spending 21 months in Cyprus; being able to go to Israel, where he spent five months in the army; getting married; going to the United State in 1956; living in Cleveland, OH; having a wife, a son, a daughter, and one grandchild; and being retired.

Interviewee
Leo Rzepka
Interviewer
Abraham Kay
Date
1984 December 12  (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