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Oral history interview with William Klein

Oral History | Accession Number: 1995.A.1277 | RG Number: RG-50.106.0123

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

William Klein, born in 1924, discusses growing up in Užhorod, Czechoslovakia (present day Uzhhorod, Ukraine), in a large family; attending Jewish school until the sixth grade, then entering a public high school; the friendliness between Jews and non-Jews in Užhorod; his two older brothers leaving in 1940 for Yugoslavia and Russia with the army; Jews being made to wear the yellow Star of David badge and comply with a curfew beginning in 1942; hearing rumors about Jews being killed in Poland; being forced into the ghetto in January or February 1944; being taken by train to Auschwitz in the spring of 1944; last seeing his parents and sister as they went through the selection process at Auschwitz; being advised by a kapo to volunteer for work outside the camp when he had the opportunity; being taken to what had been the Warsaw Ghetto along with his brother and brother-in-law to demolish buildings and clear debris; finding gold pieces in an abandoned house where he was working and hiding them in a belt; prisoners making up songs and singing as they worked; being forced to march to Dachau as the Russians advanced towards Warsaw; witnessing the death of a rabbi he and his brother had helped on the march; staying in Dachau for a few days; volunteering to work at a construction site; being seriously injured on the construction site and being helped by fellow prisoners, including one who was a doctor; escaping with his brother and brother-in-law from a train and hiding in a farmhouse as the Americans liberated the area; reuniting with his surviving family members in Bratislava and Užhorod; living in Sudetenland and then in a series of displaced persons camps in Germany (Wasserburg, Föhrenwald, and Bremerhaven) and applying to move to the United States; having his application delayed after being accused of being a communist; moving to Chicago in 1951; his pride in his Jewish identity; health problems caused by beatings he received during his time as a prisoner; telling his children about his experiences; and his response to the question of why he does not hate.

Interviewee
William Klein
Interviewer
Mira Hodos
Date
1993 October 18  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
1 sound cassette (90 min.).
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Record last modified: 2018-05-09 09:27:25
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn506643