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Oral history interview with Tomasz Miedzinski

Oral History | Accession Number: 1995.A.1280.7 | RG Number: RG-50.225.0007

Tomasz Miedziński, born in1928 in Horodenka (present-day Ukraine), describes being one of five children (four brothers and one sister); his father, Josef Szloime Szlach (Joseph Schleume Schlah), a carpenter; his mother, Klara Kupferman (Clara Kupfermann); assuming his Polish name in the 1950s; his family not being religious but speaking Yiddish at home; attending Jewish and Polish schools; the prewar atmosphere and the demographics of Horodenka; the nationalistic Ukrainian movement changing the relationship between Horodenka Jews and the Polish and Ukrainian nationals; Zionistic organizations in Horodenka; the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 and its impact on Horodenka; the majority of Horodenka Jews welcoming the Soviet Army; the beginning of the German-Russian war in 1941 and the bombing of the sugar manufacturing plant in Horodenka; the formation of a temporary Ukrainian government, which was headed by engineer Rypczyn, and its anti-Semitic character; Ukrainian atrocities and the mass murder of the Jews in Niezwiska (Nezvys'ko), Ukraine; the Hungarian entry into Horodenka and the Commander Isztwan Kowacz (Istvan Kovacs) disbanding the Ukrainian Police; experiencing a period of relative peace; the establishment of the Jewish quarter; the funeral procession of the Ukrainian police commandant, Iwan Waskuł (Waskól); the retreat of the Hungarians and the entry of the Germans in August of 1941; the persecution of Jews and the desecration of the sites of Jewish martyrdom by Soviet authorities; the Jewish quarter under German rule and the conditions there; the first execution of Horodenka Jews in the nearby village of Siemakowce (Semakivtsi); the deportation of his mother and two younger brothers, one of whom (Szmulek) escaped; the second deportation of Jews from Horodenka in the summer of 1942 to the Kolomyia ghetto; many people being sent to the Janowska work camp and highly skilled craftsmen being allowed to remain; the inhuman and crowded living conditions in the Kolomyia ghetto and a selection, during which he and his younger brother (Szmulek) were separated from their father and his older brother was killed; the transport to Belzec concentration camp and how he and Szmulek escaped; locals who helped them during their return to the Kolomyia ghetto via Lvov (L'viv, Ukraine); his brief imprisonment in Jankowska work camp; his father’s death in the village of Szeparowcy; being separated from Szmulek, who likely died in Szeparowcy; travelling in November 1942 eastward disguised as a Ukrainian peasant and finding employment as a field hand for a Ukrainian farmer; voluntarily joining a Jewish work camp in the proximity of Tarnopol, Ukraine, where he worked in the fields until he realized the impending liquidation of the camp; being employed by a Ukrainian farmer, Wasyl Dziuba, in 1943; his nationality being discovered and continuing to work for the farmer; joining the partisans and taking part in the liberation in March of 1944; finding his sister in Horodenka and moving to Kłodzko, Poland; and later becoming a government employee in the Polish Department of Education.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Tomasz Miedzinski
interview:  1994 July
6 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: 2020-08-03 11:26:25
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