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Oral history interview with Joseph Wolke

Oral History | Accession Number: 1996.A.0172 | RG Number: RG-50.106.0025

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

Joseph Wolke (Wolkeovich), born July 14, 1919 in Tomashov (Tomaszów Mazowiecki), Poland, discusses his family background and religious upbringing; his father’s successful farm outside the city; the rise of Hitler and antisemitism; racial laws against Jews; being deported during Rosh Hashanah; arriving in Krakow, Poland on a cattle train; his disbelief that the war would last so long; escaping from the Germans and returning to Tomashov by bus; how the farm provided for the family; increases in the deportation of Jews; living in the Tomashov ghetto; smuggling food into the ghetto; the liquidation of the ghetto on November 1, 1942; the mass burial of Jews in the ghetto for which he was forced to dig graves; being deported to Bergen-Belsen; being transferred on a cattle train to Auschwitz; forced labor digging ditches outside the camp; being relocated to Gross-Rosen camp; the death march from Rosen, which lasted over a week; starvation during the march; liberation by Russian forces; returning home to Poland; meeting his wife and having a child; immigrating to the United States in August 1950; living in Baltimore, MD with his wife’s family; adjusting to American life; creating a business; and learning the fate of his family members in the years following the war.

Interviewee
Joseph Wolke
Interviewer
Gail Schwartz
Date
1996 April 29  (interview)
Language
English
Genre/Form
Oral histories.
Extent
4 sound cassettes (60 min.).
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:46:49
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn507517