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Oral history interview with Herbert Finder

Oral History | Accession Number: 1997.A.0441.35 | RG Number: RG-50.462.0035

Herbert Finder, born in Vienna, Austria on April 22, 1929, describes his Polish father, who was an Austrian citizen, and his German mother; antisemitic acts he experienced in school; the Anschluss and his family’s flight to Breda, Belgium; attending a Jewish school in Antwerp, Belgium; receiving American visas in April 1940 but lacking the funds to travel and being trapped by the German invasion; his father being sent to a camp near Toulouse, France; fleeing with his mother and uncle to Southern France; living with a Jewish farmer, who took in many refugees, for two years; his father joining them after his release; living on a farm in Duvernay; his mother returning to Antwerp to salvage their visas and her deportation in September 1942; learning that she had been killed; remaining on the farm with his father until they were arrested as foreigners in August 1942 by French police; being sent to a camp in Viviers then to Drancy; being shipped east on the 28th convoy to work at Oberschlesien osten, near Katowice, Poland on September 4, 1942; remaining with his father at the labor camp of Tarnoviche (Tarnosky Gura); how the internal affairs of the camp were run by Polish Jews who reported to the Germans; being sent with other inmates in the spring of 1943 to Sosnowiec; being transferred in November 1943 to Birkenau, where they were tattooed and suffered brutal conditions; seeing the crematoria; being moved to Auschwitz for one night and then to the Warsaw Ghetto to clear rubble until July 1944; the ghetto, where non-Jewish German prisoners were in charge; prisoners trading for food with Poles; a typhus epidemic killing many; working in a burial detail that burned corpses of the victims who were shot in Paviak (Pawiak Prison); how as Russians approached in July 1944 the prisoners began a three-day forced march to Lodz, Poland then went to Dachau in sealed cattle cars without food or water; his father recuperating from an injury while Herbert was sent to Allach, a camp where Jews and non-Jews built an underground factory; his father joining him after three weeks; being put on flat cars in April 1945 and after two days the German guards disappeared and the prisoners were liberated by Americans on April 30th; how in May 1945, he and his father went to Antwerp via Stuttgart and France; their survival strategies and faith in God; going to the United States in December 1946; living in New York City, NY until 1950; and settling in Vineland, NJ.

Interviewee
Herbert Finder
Date
1987 February 19  (interview)
1987 March 19  (interview)
1987 March 26  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
3 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 10:49:15
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn508655