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Oral history interview with Henryk Prais

Oral History | Accession Number: 1995.A.1280.18 | RG Number: RG-50.225.0018

Henryk Prais, born in 1916 in Góra Kalwaria, Poland, discusses his father's death when Henryk was a baby; cordial relations with non-Jews; attending six years of Polish school; participating in Hapoel Hamizrachi; apprenticing as a tailor; working for a Catholic; being drafted into the military in November 1937; serving in an elite unit in Suwałki; becoming an officer; transferring to Raczki; the German invasion; skirmishes in Cimochy and elsewhere; being transferred to Hrodna; being captured by Soviet troops in Shchuchyn in September; doing forced labor; being released in December; returning home via Warsaw; forced labor assignments from the Judenrat; ghettoization; escaping to the Magnuszew ghetto; obtaining false papers from a priest with help from a Polish friend; being sent to a labor camp; escaping to Magnuszew in December 1943; learning his mother died in the Warsaw ghetto when visiting his brother and sister in Głowaczów (he never saw them again); being warned to leave; a poor woman hiding him in Podwierzbie, even from Narodowe Siły Zbrojne, a Polish nationalist group (he had her recognized by Yad Vashem); liberation by Soviet troops; seeing the flames from the Warsaw uprising; believing he was one of the only Jews left; working for the Soviets in Podłez; returning to Gora Kalwaria in 1945 to join other survivors; his marriage; Poles who hid Jews in Sokółka; many Poles who risked their lives for Jews; the influence and escape of the Chasidic rebbe, Abraham Alter, from Góra Kalwaria; and Jewish pilgrimages there to this day.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Henryk Prais
Michal Sobelman
interview:  1995 May 06
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 09:32:14
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