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Oral history interview with Jola Hoffman

Oral History | Accession Number: 1993.A.0088.74 | RG Number: RG-50.002.0074

Jola Hoffman, born in Leipzig, Germany on June 13, 1931, discusses her childhood in Leipzig; the establishment of the Nuremberg laws in 1936; her aunt and uncle's departure from Germany prior to the start of the World War II; the Gestapo forcing her family and others to leave their homes; their train ride headed for the Polish border in 1938; the family's ability to enter Poland because they had family in Łódź; her father's experiences traveling between England and Poland prior to World War II; her father's move to Lwów, Poland (L'viv, Ukraine), under the advice of the mayor of Warsaw; the invasion of Warsaw by the Germans; her and her mother's trip to Lwów to join her father; the emigration of some of her family members; the deportation of the Jews from Germany between the years of 1938 and 1939; volunteers who were given the opportunity during the Russian occupation to leave for German-occupied Poland; her father's move to the Warsaw ghetto; her and her mother's dangerous trip to join her father in the ghetto; starvation and death in the ghetto and the deportation of Jews to Treblinka concentration camp; the liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto; the help that her family received from friends and a priest in the Polish underground; her mother's ability to get false identification papers; her mother being taken to the Umschlagplatz (transport center); the help that her father received from a factory official from the ghetto to save her mother; the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising; being hit by a car while leaving the ghetto in 1943 and needing to be hospitalized; hearing of her grandfather's suicide; her release from the hospital; her time with her family living in a peasant cottage; the last time she saw her father before his departure in the summer of 1943 and her memories of him; her time in an apartment near Warsaw with a landlady who was working for the Polish underground; her involvement with the underground delivering news from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC); working in a hospital when Warsaw was bombed; being deported to a work camp in Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland); her job in a factory in the city of Breslau; her mother's job as a French translator in Breslau; the liberation of the camp in 1945; seeing "ghosts in the street" from Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland; her and her mother's experiences in Germany and Poland after the war; the punishment of Poles who helped Jews during World War II; the help that she received from Gentiles during World War II; her immigration to England as part of Rabbi Solomon Schonfeld's mission to get children out of Poland; her immigration to the United States in 1949; her education at Kean College in New Jersey; her role as an anti-Vietnam activist; visiting Poland after the war and seeing a sculpture of Janusz Korczak; and her inability to talk about the Holocaust with her children. Also contains a photograph of Jola at age six vacationing in Yugoslavia, a photograph of her in the spring of 1944 in Warsaw, Poland, and a photograph of her in April of 1993.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Hoffman, Jola
Weinstein, Bernard
interview:  1987 November 03
2 videocassettes (VHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Holocaust Resource Center at Kean University
Record last modified: 2022-06-23 09:42:29
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