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Oral history interview with Benjamin Sieradzki

Oral History | Accession Number: 1999.A.0122.43 | RG Number: RG-50.477.0043

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

The interview describes Mr. Sieradzki's childhood in Zgierz, Poland; his awareness in 1938 about Hitler and the discrimination experienced by German Jews; his memories of the mobilization of the Polish Army, and the invasion of Poland by Nazi forces in September 1939. Mr. Sieradzki describes hiding from the bombing; his brothers' escape to the Soviet sector of Poland; and his family's move to the Lodz ghetto. Mr. Sieradzki recalls the harsh conditions there; the first transports in 1941; Chaim Rumkowski's leadership in the ghetto; a visit by Heinrich Himmler in 1942; and the deportation in September 1942 of the ill, elderly and children, during which his parents were sent to Chelmno and killed in gas vans. He describes the liquidation of the ghetto in 1944; his transport, with one sister, to Auschwitz; watching Dr. Mengele make selections and seeing his sister being taken to the gas chambers. Mr. Sieradzki describes his experiences in Birkenau, then in a concentration camp in Hannover where he worked for the Continental Rubber factory, and then in a quarry, where he became emaciated, sick with dysentary, and indifferent to his fate. He recalls the abandonment of the camp by German troops, his liberation, the dreadful state of his health and his experiences in military hospitals and then in convalescent homes in Sweden. Mr. Sieradzki describes anti-Jewish sentiment in Sweden, being smuggled to Denmark to stay with his uncle, and his reunion with his older brothers, who had survived the war. He discusses the difficulties of his living situation, and describes his immigration to the United States in 1953, and his marriage and family life in the United States.

Interviewee
Benjamin Sieradzki
Date
1992 March 11  (interview)
1992 May 27  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
2 videocassettes (SVHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Credit Line
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, acquired from Jewish Family and Children's Services of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:50:40
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn507714