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Oral history interview with Irving Schaffer

Oral History | Accession Number: 1995.A.1276 | RG Number: RG-50.106.0122

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

Irving Schaffer, born May 26, 1928 in Chust, Czechoslovakia (present day Khust, Ukraine), discusses growing up in an Orthodox family; his early education; a teacher beating him in front of the class in 1943; experiencing antisemitism before the war; his father’s arrest for receiving milk from a neighbor; the deportation of his father and brother to labor camps; his family’s eviction from their home and deportation to the Chust Ghetto; conditions of the ghetto, such as the Jewish leadership; his assignment as a messenger and pass to leave the ghetto; smuggling in bread from outside the ghetto; people being punished for being Hungarian; being transported by train from the ghetto after three weeks; how partisans blew up the train and told prisoners to jump off and escape; arriving at Auschwitz in the spring of 1944; his memories of Dr. Mengele; being separated from the rest of his family at Auschwitz; being sent to Warsaw, Poland after only three days at Auschwitz; working to clean out the Warsaw Ghetto; prisoners escaping from the Warsaw ghetto; being marched out of the ghetto in August 1944; arriving at Kutno on the German and Polish border; being transported by train to Dachau; living in Camp Seven and working in Mühldorf in an ammunition factory; stealing potatoes and bartering with other prisoners; being transported from Dachau; finding a train transporting sugar that had been bombed and eating the hot sugar; being transported to the Landshut camp; working in Landsberg, Germany; a bombing by American planes; being released by the Germans and then chased down and beaten into a coma; waking up in a German hospital; organizations that assisted in reconnecting families, such as UNRRA and the Joint Distribution Committee; being liberated in Feldmoching, Germany; finding his brother in Chust; how the Russians did not let him leave Chust; escaping across borders into Germany; attending school in Munich, Germany; and immigrating to the United States in 1947.

Interviewee
Irving Schaffer
Interviewer
Mira Hodos
Date
1993 October 19  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
2 sound cassettes (90 min.).