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Oral history interview with William Klein

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

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    Oral history interview with William Klein


    Interview Summary
    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.
    William Klein
    Mira Hodos
    interview:  1993 October 18

    Physical Details

    1 sound cassette (90 min.).

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Personal Name
    Klein, William, 1924-

    Administrative Notes

    The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Oral History branch conducted this interview on October 18, 1993. The interview was transferred to the Archives on February 5, 1995.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this oral history interview has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2023-11-16 08:12:34
    This page:

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