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Oral history interview with Renata Zisman

Oral History | Accession Number: 1995.A.1280.15 | RG Number: RG-50.225.0015

Renata Zisman, born circa 1924 in Żywiec, Poland, describes growing up in an affluent family; their strong Polish identity and interest in music; having cordial relations with non-Jews; living in Bielsko-Biała; the German invasion; relocating to Kraków and thinking it was safer; ghettoization; forced labor; an informal music group; the deportation of her parents in October 1942; her parent's friend caring for her and her sister (she married him after the war); being sent to Płaszów; experiencing humiliation and abuse by an SS man; slave labor; Amon Goeth tearing her earrings out; a Polish civilian worker giving her extra food and sharing it with her sister; declining a Polish woman's offer to hide her, fearing other prisoners and her sister would be killed in retribution; being transferred to Auschwitz/Birkenau; losing hope for survival; slave labor in a factory; volunteering for the camp orchestra; the conductor teaching her the double bass; remaining with her sister at night; train transport and a death march to Ravensbrück in January 1945; being transferred to Neustadt-Glewe three months later; liberation in May; returning to Poland hoping to find their parents; her career as a music teacher; learning ten years ago that her parents were killed in Belzec; having chronic fears as a result of her experiences; frequently discussing the Holocaust with her sister and husband; and her recent visits to the camps as a guest of the German government.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Renata Zisman
Barbara Engelking-Boni
interview:  1995 May 14
4 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 09:48:47
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