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Oral history interview with Dolly Bestandig

Oral History | Accession Number: 1997.A.0424 | RG Number: RG-50.106.0073

Dolly Bestandig (née Hirsch), born July 24, 1939 in Vilna (Vilnius), Lithuania, discusses her family, which had been in Lithuania for 11 generations; her father, who was a mathematical engineer, and her mother, who was a concert pianist; how her parents were both very religious and wealthy; being sent to the Vilna ghetto, the hardship of which marked the beginning of her mother’s psychological changes; the presence of 90 members of her mother’s family in the ghetto; how at age five, after living in the Minsk ghetto, she and her mother were sent to Auschwitz, where her mother managed to save her life by hiding her in a garbage can during the day while her mother worked; being moved to Bergen-Belsen with her mother and father after four months, where she was again hidden in a garbage can every day until liberation on April 15, 1945 by English soldiers; being sent to Sweden for medical care; being hospitalized in Gothenburg and then in Stockholm, where surgery on her palate was performed; leaving Sweden in 1947 and going to New York, where an uncle met her family; going to Mexico City, where two uncles were waiting; how her mother’s psychological state was deteriorating and she died in 1958; having flashbacks to her life in the camps; going to the Margaret Sanger Institute in New York City in 1967, where she received counseling help and tuberculosis was found throughout her body; recovering and adopting two children; being the Sub-Director of Hebrew instruction at the Yeshiva in Mexico City; and her feelings about her survival.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Ms. Dolly Bestandig
Gail Schwartz
interview:  1997 July 27
creation: Washington (D.C.)
3 sound cassettes (74 min.).
Record last modified: 2021-05-21 10:23:44
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