Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Oral history interview with Abe Salem

Oral History | Accession Number: 1990.8.27 | RG Number: RG-50.063.0027

Abe Salem, born in Warsaw, Poland on December 3, 1919, discusses being the oldest of seven siblings in a strictly Orthodox family; attending religious schools; his father’s leather accessories shop; the lack of socialization between Jews and non-Jews and the common antisemitism; daily life; how the Jewish community took care of their own; one instance of antisemitism, during which a Polish soldier thought him too arrogant and smacked him; being politically active in the Jewish community; following Vladimir Jabotinsky’s movement and later the Chalutz (HeHalutz) movement; hearing Jabotinsky speak to a crowd of some 8,000 Jews in Warsaw in 1938 and the response of the crowd; hearing a speech by Wolfgang Wiesel, who told the Jews in 1938 to buy guns and take up target practice; speaking to Wiesel in 1943; social conditions in Poland for the Jews; how after the war broke out the Chalutz leaders fled to the free city of Vilna (Vilnius, Lithuania); keeping informed by listening to German radio; trying to leave Poland by registering for permission to emigrate; helping to organize young adults but experiencing resistance; conditions after the bombings; the Chevra Kaddisha; being thrown out of a building by a German soldier; fleeing to Vilna; going between Vilna and Warsaw three times; being captured by Russians; being sent to a labor camp until 1942; being released; getting a false birth certificate; being caught with false papers and escaping; going to Tashkent, Uzbekistan; stealing food from a woman on a train; getting a job in a bakery; learning about the fate of his family in 1946; going to Breslau (Wroclaw , Poland) after the war to find Jewish children for the Chalutz organization; smuggling the children to Palestine with help from the Jewish Joint and the Jewish Brigade; meeting his wife in 1945; staying in Germany from 1946 to 1949; being brought to the United States by the Joint; settling in Evansville, IN; and his life after the war.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Abe Salem
interview:  1989 November 20
1 videocassette (VHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Record last modified: 2023-08-25 08:41:17
This page: