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Oral history interview with Stefania Steel and Maximillian Steel

Oral History | Digitized | Accession Number: 1996.A.0586.40 | RG Number: RG-50.407.0040

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    Oral history interview with Stefania Steel and Maximillian Steel


    Interview Summary
    Stefania Steel (née Medeska), born on December 17, 1918 in Łódź, Poland, discusses growing up as an only child in an Orthodox home; attending a Jewish school until she was 16 years old; her parents; speaking Polish, English and Yiddish at home; working her family’s book shop and printing business; the German invasion; trying to escape Łódź with a boyfriend and returning soon after; having to wear an armband; the burning of the synagogues; going to Warsaw, Poland; going to Bialystok, Poland; getting married; traveling with a large group through Kiev, Ukraine; going to Kattakurgan, Uzbekistan; the typhus epidemic in Kattakurgan; working in a library; her husband working in a hospital until he was mobilized into the army for six months; living in Uzbekistan for five years; the bad conditions in Uzbekistan; returning to Łódź in 1945 from Tashkent, Uzbekistan; the births of her son and daughter; standing in lines for food and milk; experiencing a lot of antisemitism; going to Vienna, Austria in 1958; immigrating to Australia; adjusting to life in Australia; visiting Poland twice; believing she survived because of luck; and her religious life in Melbourne. (She shows personal documents and photographs at the end of the interview.)
    [An interview with Maximillian Steel begins at 1:16:00].
    Maximillian Steel (Stahl), born in 1910 in Łódź, Poland, discusses his parents (his mother’s name was Herta Falsberg); his family’s chicory factory; becoming a boxer at age 16 and winning a boxing championship in Łódź in 1934; not being allowed to compete in Austria in 1935; working as an electrician in Palestine for five months; returning to Łódź in 1935; the beginning of the war and being taken by the Germans to work cutting wood; living in Warsaw and then Bialystok; going east to Uzbekistan, and working in a hospital for about a year; working as a truck driver; being mobilized by the Russian Army for about six months; being released as an invalid and returning to Tashkent; returning to Łódź; working as a truck driver and then in a salt factory; immigrating to Australia; working many jobs in Australia; his message to future generation to never surrender. (He shows photographs at the end of his interview.)
    Stefania Steel
    Maximillian Steel
    Pauline Rockman
    interview:  1996 March 18

    Physical Details

    1 videocassette (VHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Corporate Name
    Red Army (Soviet Union)

    Administrative Notes

    Jewish Holocaust Museum and Research Centre conducted the interview on March18, 1996, in Melbourne, Australia. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum acquired the tape of the interview in July 1996.
    Record last modified:
    2023-11-16 08:29:15
    This page:

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