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Oral history interview with Mina Kalter

Oral History | Accession Number: 1997.A.0441.13 | RG Number: RG-50.462.0013

Mina Kalter (née Basseches), born in 1921 in Przeworsk, Poland, describes being raised in a religious family; her father, who was a traveling merchant, and her mother, who worked in retail fabrics; how both her parents were active in Zionist organizations and charitable endeavors and on good terms with their Christian neighbors until 1939; the extensive work of the Kehillah in helping those in need; life after the German invasion of Poland in 1939; the bombing and desecration of the synagogue; forced labor and the confiscation of Jewish property; all Jews being forced into a ghetto; the lack of help from former Christian friends; conditions in the ghetto; smuggling her small brother to the home of a loyal former family housekeeper; escaping from a work detail in March 1941; crossing the River San to Soviet-controlled Poland, where she was helped by a Russian Jewish family prior to being resettled in a small town near Lvov (L’viv, Ukraine); life under Soviet rule in Poland; being exiled to Siberia because she refused to accept Soviet citizenship; the transport to the labor camp, where she lived for four years, until May 1945; her clandestine trip outside the Siberian camp to obtain potatoes for planting; receiving permission by mail to return to Poland in March 1945; working her way across Siberia toward Poland with her husband in June 1945, where she experienced antisemitism; receiving help from the Joint Distribution Committee in Szczecin, Poland that her two brothers were alive and joining them in a displaced persons camp in Berlin, Germany in August 1945; the living conditions with her new born baby; staying in another camp near Landsberg, Germany in 1948; immigrating with her family to the United States in 1950; her adjustment to life in the US; her children’s awareness of their parents’ background and their commitment to Judaism; and her hope that her testimony will remind future generations of the horrors of the Hitler years.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Kalter, Mina
Rofman, Ellen
interview:  1986 February 18
2 sound cassettes (60 min.).
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Gratz College Holocaust Oral History Archive
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 20:10:39
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