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Oral history interview with Elsa Turteltaub

Oral History | Accession Number: 1997.A.0441.72 | RG Number: RG-50.462.0072

Elsa Turteltaub (née Waldner), born October 24, 1916 in Teschen (Cieszyn), Poland, describes attending private Catholic schools with her brother and sister, although her parents kept a kosher home and attended a conservative synagogue on holidays; completing a commercial high school course; being active in Hanoar Hatzioni; the German invasion in September 1939; her parents losing their restaurant; being forced with her sister to clean German army barracks; escaping in December 1939 to Slovakia, where she joined a hachshara in Zilina; being sent to Auschwitz in March 1942 in one of the first Slovakian transports; being forced into hard labor in the sand pits, despite being ill with typhus; being transferred to the registry office, where she issued death certificates requested by relatives of Auschwitz inmates; how by 1943 only gentiles’ requests were answered; the causes of death given were fictitious and created by the office staff and if ashes of the deceased were requested, staff filled sacks with any ashes found in the crematorium; the living conditions for those girls living in a building with SS women, which were much better than elsewhere; being evacuated to Ravensbrück, then to Malchow, and finally to Trewitz in East Germany; being liberated by Russians on May 3, 1945; getting married in 1946; giving birth to a son in 1948 in Katowitz, Poland; living with her family in Israel from 1950 to 1955; immigrating to the United States in 1955; and the inclusion of her story in “Secretaries of Death” (translated by Lore Shelley, New York: Shengold Publishers, Inc., 1986).

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Turteltaub, Elsa
interview:  1987 July 14
1 sound cassette (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 20:10:41
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