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Oral history interview with Felicia Brenner

Oral History | Accession Number: 1989.346.8 | RG Number: RG-50.031.0008

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

Felicia Brenner, born on June 18, 1925 in Lódz, Poland, describes being one of seven children from a well-to-do family; her father, who was a businessman and her mother, who stayed home to take care of the children; attending a private Hebrew school, although her education was cut short when the war broke out; being 14 years old when the war began; not experiencing any instances of antisemitism before the Nazis came but seeing the unrest in the Jewish community; her family’s non-Jewish domestic helper leaving their household; being forced to move into the Lódz ghetto with her mother, father, and younger brother; one of her sisters fleeing to Kraków, Poland and two of her brothers going to Białystok, Poland; her job in the ghetto making boots; the scarcity of food; feeling responsible for her parents and trying to bring home extra soup to give to them; the Nazis closing down sections of the ghetto for deportations; her family going to live at her uncle’s house on another street; how one day while waiting in line for vegetables, she saw a sign calling for the liquidation of the ghetto; her younger brother being deported to Buchenwald; the Germans posting signs that they were only taking the young people to work camps, not the old; hiding under a wardrobe because she feared that if she were deported, her parents would starve; coming out of hiding and finding out that her parents had been deported; running to the courtyard and getting on the last cattle car; finding her mother with the help of a German officer and eventually arriving at Auschwitz; her mother being sent to the gas chamber; hearing her father call her and her mother’s names, but never answering him; being in Auschwitz for a short time and then transferred to Bergen-Belsen; the difficult conditions and lack of food; being transferred to Salzwedel, which was liberated around Passover by the Americans; being the only survivor in her family; never returning to Poland because she heard about the murder of Jewish people who were coming back to find family and claim their property; going to Salzheim (Zeilsheim) displaced persons camp; and feeling bitter and losing her faith in humanity and God.

Interviewee
Felicia Brenner
Date
1990 July 22  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
1 videocassette (VHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:41:12
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn507440