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Oral history interview with Aaron Stolzman

Oral History | Accession Number: 1997.A.0441.71 | RG Number: RG-50.462.0071

Aaron Stolzman, born on December 28, 1925 in Dobrzyn, Poland, describes his father, who was a grocer and an officer in the Polish Army; his father’s death while fighting the Germans; his life before 1939; the local Jewish community and his family taking in Polish Jews who were expelled from Germany in 1938; the effects of the German occupation; being evicted by their German neighbors and fleeing to the Mlawa ghetto, where they stayed for about six months; witnessing German atrocities; joining an underground organization in the ghetto; leaving the ghetto with false papers and a new identity; going to work for a Polish farmer and then for the German army, posing as a Pole; connecting with a resistance group that lived in underground bunkers in the forest; how in September 1942 Germans destroyed their bunkers and he was taken to Auschwitz, where he stayed until 1945; how he and 200 young boys actually built Auschwitz; working on several other Kommandos building ammunition factories and underground transformers; living and working conditions in Auschwitz, where most prisoners only survived a week or two; knowing about the gas chambers and crematoriums; his escape attempt with the help of a Polish civilian and the terrible punishment the Germans inflicted on him; why escape was impossible; being put into Block 11, which few prisoners survived; being tortured and interrogated; being sent on a death march in 1945 to Gross-Rosen with prisoners from Buna and Birkenau; being sent to Dachau by freight train under horrible conditions; how the men who survived the trip were put into a barracks with prisoners who had typhoid; working on a Kommando at Muhldorf building underground hangars for the German air force; how he learned to survive; the evacuation of the camp by train and the Germans tried to murder the prisoners; how a Wehrmacht soldier, under direct orders from Heinrich Himmler to shoot them all, stalled the train until the US Army arrived; some Jews taking revenge on the German guards; liberation by the American Third Army; the establishment of Feldafind displaced persons camp and the post-liberation conditions; attempts by the Polish government to persuade Polish Jews to return; going to the United States on December 20, 1947; and the loss of the majority of his family.

Interviewee
Aaron Stolzman
Date
1985 April 21  (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 10:55:25
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn508695