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Oral history interview with Jakub Gutenbaum

Oral History | Accession Number: 1995.A.1280.4 | RG Number: RG-50.225.0004

Jakub Gutenbaum, born in 1929 in Warsaw, Poland, describes his assimilated family; the German invasion in 1939; his father fleeing east (he never saw him again); ghettoization; crowding and starvation; working as an errand boy for the Judenrat; hiding with his mother and brother in an attic overlooking the Umschlagplatz during round-ups; moving when they were seen; hiding in a bunker during the ghetto uprising; being deported to Majdenek after the bunker was discovered; being separated from his mother and brother during selection (he never saw them again); hiding to avoid slave labor moving stones; contemplating suicide; changing his mind when an aunt's tenant gave him extra food; fatal beatings of failed escapees; volunteering for transfer; slave labor in a munitions factory in Skarżysko-Kamienna; a non-Jewish woman prisoner giving him extra food; his Hasidic bunkmate praying and observing Passover; being hospitalized for typhus; a prisoner-dentist hiding him during selection; escaping from a group selected for death; being transferred to Buchenwald, Schlieben, then Theresienstadt; liberation by Soviet troops; observing prisoners killing local Germans; traveling to Liberec, Prague, Warsaw, then Łódź; being assigned to an orphanage in Helenówek; briefly visiting relatives in Belgium; studying in Moscow; his academic career; his reluctance to share his experiences, even with his wife; the importance of Polish culture to his identity; continuing contact with the dentist who saved him and staff from the orphanage; and participating in survivor organizations.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Professor Jakub Gutenbaum
Anka Grupińska
interview:  1994 July
8 videocassettes (U-Matic) : sound, color ; 3/4 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, courtesy of the Jeff and Toby Herr Foundation
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:32:12
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