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Oral history interview with Pauline Staman and Rose Weingarten

Oral History | Accession Number: 1990.8.29 | RG Number: RG-50.063.0029

Rose Weingarten (née Berkowitz), born on September 27, 1918, in Velky-Bockov, Czechoslovakia (Velykyĭ Bychkiv, Ukraine), describes the Jewish population in her town; her father, who was a storekeeper, and her mother; speaking Yiddish at home and Hungarian and Russian outside the home; her nine siblings; being in an Orthodox Jewish family; the importance of education in her family; how they kept informed by reading newspapers from Prague, Czech Republic; the lack of antisemitism before the war; her non-Jewish friends; how at one point Ukrainians came in and began to foment antisemitism; her father’s belief that the war wouldn’t come; the beginning of deportations in 1939, starting with individuals without a long ancestry in Czechoslovakia; being scared, but her father’s insistence that they stay put; a neighbor who joined the SS; the economic downturn in 1943; the deportation and murder of family members who lived elsewhere; having to sell the family business in 1943; experiencing antisemitism; being sent to a ghetto in Mátészalka, Hungary in April 1944; conditions in the ghetto and remaining there only a few weeks; the torture of individuals who tried to escape; being sent on cattle cars in April 1944 to Auschwitz; conditions on the train; arriving at the camp and having their heads shaved; her parents and their two grandchildren being selected for the gas chamber; being with two sisters and a sister-in-law in barracks 14 section C, from which they could see people going to the gas chambers; digging ditches; being in Auschwitz until December 1944; her feeling that she wouldn't have survived without her sisters; at one point being told that their barracks was going to be sent to a new camp and hiding with her sisters to avoid this transport; daily life in the camp; being beaten by a female guard for bringing an abandoned bowl of soup to her barrack; the pain of roll calls; the atrocities in the camp, including infanticide and people being burned alive; being sent to Lenzing, Austria in December 1944; working in a munitions factory, sorting refuse; being liberated in May 1945 by the Americans; being sent to a youth home called Jugendheim; being sent to Prague; getting married in 1945; immigrating to the United States in 1947; and the importance of family to her.

Pauline Staman (née Berkowitz), born in 1929, describes working for the SS female guards in Lenzig in from 1944 to 1945; her efforts to bring the refuse of the SS women's meals to feed her sisters; how the SS women took her for treatment when she got a bad infection in her hand; and immigrating to Israel and later to the U.S.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Rose Weingarten
Pauline Staman
interview:  1991 May 15
1 videocassette (VHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:49:01
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