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Oral history interview with Mina Kalter

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

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    Oral history interview with Mina Kalter


    Interview Summary
    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.
    Mina Kalter
    Ellen Rofman
    interview:  1986 February 18
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Gratz College Holocaust Oral History Archive

    Physical Details

    2 sound cassettes (60 min.).

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Topical Term
    Americanization. Antisemitism. Childbirth. Escapes. Faith (Judaism) Forced labor. Hidden children (Holocaust)--Poland. Holocaust survivors--United States. Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Poland--Personal narratives. Jewish ghettos--Poland--Przeworsk. Jewish property--Poland--Przeworsk. Jewish refugees--Germany. Jewish refugees--Ukraine. Jewish women in the Holocaust. Jews--Poland--Charities. Jews--Poland--Przeworsk. Refugee camps--Germany--Berlin. Refugee children--Care. Synagogues--Destruction and pillage. Women concentration camp inmates. World War, 1939-1945--Concentration camps--Russia (Federation)--Siberia. World War, 1939-1945--Conscript labor. World War, 1939-1945--Deportations from Ukraine. World War, 1939-1945--Destruction and pillage--Poland. Zionists. Women--Personal narratives.
    Personal Name
    Kalter, Mina, 1921-

    Administrative Notes

    The Gratz College Holocaust Oral History Archive conducted the interview with Mina Kalter in Philadelphia, Pa., on February 18, 1986. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum received the tapes of the interview from Gratz College on September 26, 1997.
    Record last modified:
    2023-11-16 08:35:58
    This page:

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