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Oral history interview with Benjamin Lewin

Oral History | Digitized | Accession Number: 1996.A.0586.1 | RG Number: RG-50.407.0001

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    Oral history interview with Benjamin Lewin


    Interview Summary
    Benjamin Lewin, born in 1926 in Karlsbad (Karlovy Vary), Czech Republic, describes his father, who was a traveling salesman for a shoe manufacturer; his mother, who ran a kosher "Pensionat" (i.e. a small hotel), accommodating 50 guests; the increase in Nazism in 1936; his family moving to Aussig (Ústí nad Labem), Czech Republic; the German takeover of the Sudeten in 1938; his family moving to Prague, Czech Republic; the living conditions in Prague after the German invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1939 and being fraught with fear; his family manufacturing of electric kettles for export to Germany in conjunction with a workshop, which was formerly owned by his uncle and transferred to non-Jewish management; the Jewish life in Prague and his bar mitzvah; their manufacturing job lasting until May 1941 when they ran out of production materials; being provided food by Czech farmers; how the Czech police hated the Germans and behaved "decently"; the deportation of Prague Jews to Theresienstadt beginning in May-June 1941; the lists of the Jewish population that were drawn up by the Jewish administration and how call-ups for "resettlement" took place in alphabetical order; his family being sent to Theresienstadt in September 1941; working as an electrician in the camp; his mother being assigned to the kitchen, which helped him get extra rations; the poor conditions in the camp; he and his father being in a barracks with German Jews and his belief that they received preferential treatment; the well documented visit of the Swiss Red Cross officials and the sham perpetrated by the Germans; being taken with his father to Auschwitz during the summer of 1944; he and his father surviving the selection; being protected by a Kapo along with two other youths; being taken to Czechowice (Tschechowitz), where his father died; being marched to Obitz and then transported in open cattle cars to Buchenwald; how only 1,000 of the 7,000 people on the train survived; being liberated by the Russians; returning to Prague in August 1945; finding his mother and sister who were liberated in Theresienstadt; being called up for military service in the Czech Army; going to Belgium where he briefly attend school; his adjustment to life in Australia; and how he attributes his survival to youth.
    Benjamin Lewin
    Raie Goodwach
    interview:  1995 December 12

    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

    Personal Name
    Lewin, Benjamin, 1926-

    Administrative Notes

    Jewish Holocaust Museum and Research Centre conducted the interview on December 12, 1995, in Melbourne, Australia. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum acquired the tape of the interview in July 1996.
    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 08:29:01
    This page:

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