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Oral history interview with Harry Alexander

Oral History | Accession Number: 1994.A.0447.4 | RG Number: RG-50.042.0004

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

Harry Alexander discusses his memories of persecutions suffered by Jews in his hometown of Leipzig, Germany, and the events of Kristallnacht in 1938; his flight to Milan, Italy after Kristallnacht and his experiences there with other Jewish refugees; his memories of receiving a one-day visa through the French embassy in Milan and his attempt to escape to France by train; his memories of the "St. Vemo incident" when fisherman from the village of San Remo, Italy attempted to ferry the refugees around a blockade that stopped the train he was on from entering France; his arrest in France and time in prison; his time in Antibes concentration camp in France, and later in a Marseille prison; his escape from a transport between concentration camps; hiding in a forest and his arrest there; being in Di Agilis concentration camp and his transport from there to "Jaffa" (Djelfa) concentration camp in Algeria, where he and other prisoners worked to build a railroad passage across the Sahara Desert; the types of torture in Djelfa; his memories of the various acts of defiance by prisoners in Djelfa and the role that humor played in surviving the camp; his liberation from Djelfa by British troops and his time in British military intelligence after liberation; his reflections on the cruelty of camp and prison guards that he encountered; the role that his mother played in his survival; the loss of his entire family in the concentration camps; his thoughts on survival as a form of heroism; and his thoughts on why more Jews didn't "fight back" and defend themselves against the Nazis.

Interviewee
Mr. Harry Alexander
Interviewer
Sandra Bradley
Date
1992 February 11  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
4 film reels : color ; 16 mm.
6 sound tape reels : analog, mono ; 7 in..
2 videocassette (D2) : sound, color ; 3/4 in..
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:39:29
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn505558