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Oral history interview with Genia Klapholz

Oral History | Accession Number: 1997.A.0441.15 | RG Number: RG-50.462.0015

Genia Klapholz (née Flaks), born in 1912 in Wisnicz, Poland, describes being raised in a religious family; the ghettoization of the town during WWII; witnessing the murder of her baby niece by a German soldier; escaping with her younger sister and paying a woman in a neighboring village to hide them for eight days; having to return to Wisnicz; being transported to the Bochnia ghetto, where they worked in a uniform factory for one year, enduring terrible conditions; moving next to the Szebnie transit camp, where they saw Jews from Tarnow burned alive; her Yiddish poem, “In Memory of My Sister, Serl, of Camp Szebnie” (she reads it during the interview; note that it and another poem, “The Death March from Auschwitz” are included with the transcripts); working for three months as a cleaning woman in a factory at Szebnie; being deported to Auschwitz in 1942, which she describes in detail; the brutal treatment during her two years in Birkenau; working in the ammunition factory, from which four young women smuggled gunpowder for the attempted explosion of the crematoria and witnessing their hanging after they were caught; a particular delousing incident, during which she had to stand in the snow, naked for hours; her foot operation, performed without anesthesia; being forced to leave Auschwitz on a death march in January 1945; escaping with two other women and finding shelter with a Polish woman and her family in Silesia; how this family was recognized as one of the “Righteous among the Nations” by Yad Vashem in 1991; being liberated by the Russians on March 28, 1945 and returning to Krakow, Poland in search of her family; living in displaced persons camps in Ainring, Regensburg, and Landsberg, where she met and married Henry Klapholz; immigrating with her husband and baby son in 1948 to the United States; buying a farm in Vineland, NJ; and moving to Philadelphia, PA in 1955.

Interviewee
Genia Klapholz
Date
1981 July 29  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
2 sound cassettes (60 min.).
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, gift of the Holocaust Oral History Archive of Gratz College
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:43:57
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn508636