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Oral history interview with Harry Alexander

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

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.


Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Interviewee
Mr. Harry Alexander
Interviewer
Sandra Bradley
Date
interview:  1992 February 11
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..
 
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:30:46
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn505558