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Oral history interview with Stefania Steel and Maximillian Steel

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

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

Stefania Steel (née Medeska), born on December 17, 1918 in Lódz, 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 Lódz 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 Lódz 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 Lódz, 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 Lódz in 1934; not being allowed to compete in Austria in 1935; working as an electrician in Palestine for five months; returning to Lódz 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 Lódz; 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.)

Interviewee
Stefania Steel
Maximillian Steel
Date
1996 March 18  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
1 videocassette (VHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..