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Oral history interview with Irene Sulzman

Oral History | Accession Number: 1990.8.31 | RG Number: RG-50.063.0031

Irene Sulzman, born in Łódź, Poland on July 13, 1928, describes her middle class, non-practicing Jewish family; her pre-war life; antisemitism in Polish literature; having no Jewish education until she went to the ghetto; her parents’ view of Hitler; the shortage of food; not being allowed to attend school; the German treatment of Jews in Łódź; the creation of the ghetto in 1940; her mother’s desire for the family to stay together; conditions in the ghetto; having her tonsils removed in the ghetto without anesthesia; learning English; growing vegetables in the ghetto; the Jewish policemen and her parents’ view of Chaim Rumkowski; the psychological breakdown of Jews in the ghetto; rumors, the threat of deportation, and the black market; being deported to Auschwitz; arriving at the camp and going through a selection process; the loss of one of her sisters; roll calls; being sent to Bergen-Belsen for several weeks; volunteering to go to Buchenwald; the female SS German guards in Buchenwald; being chosen with her mother and sister to maintain the barracks; being sent on a death march in April or May of 1945; being liberated by the Americans; her feelings about the Germans and Americans at that time; going to Frankfurt, Germany; working in General Eisenhower's headquarters as a translator; finding her father; being slightly ashamed of having an intact family; meeting Eleanor Roosevelt; immigrating to the United States; her first husband and getting divorced; her current husband, who is also Polish-American; being open with her children about her experience; her children and life after the war; and her thoughts on being Jewish in the US.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Irene Sulzman
interview:  1989 June 06
2 videocassettes (VHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:49:02
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