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Oral history interview with Max Roisman

Oral History | Accession Number: 1997.A.0441.95 | RG Number: RG-50.462.0095

Max Roisman, born July 25, 1913 in Warsaw, Poland, describes how in 1939, before the German invasion of Poland, he and his wife left Warsaw to go to Russia; stopping at the border and remaining in Slawatycza, Poland, where he worked with a local tailor for German SS border guards; being warned by an SS officer and hiding with his wife in a nearby town; going to Wohyn, Poland, posing as a gentile; using a sewing machine smuggled out of the Warsaw Ghetto and working as a tailor with a non-Jewish partner until he was ordered to work for the Germans as a tailor in Suchowola, an open labor camp; how on May 3, 1943 the camp was liquidated and workers were evacuated to Majdanek; signing up with his wife and brother-in-law to go to Auschwitz, unaware of the nature of the camp; being sent to Buna to work as a slave laborer for I.G. Farben Industry, then on a forced march to Gleiwitz, where they boarded a train to Oranienburg (a satellite camp of Sachsenhausen) to work in a brick factory; working as a tailor for the commandant of the camp, Major Heydrich, and being put in charge of four other tailors; obtaining food and clothing for other inmates and himself by trading stolen supplies; being wounded in April 1945 during an air raid; receiving excellent medical care due to the intervention of the camp commandant; hiding when the camp was evacuated and the German military ran away; the remaining survivors organizing to get food and water until the Russians liberated the camp; conditions at Oranienburg; receiving help from the Russians and traveling east across the border; being separated from his wife; being sheltered by a Polish family that had hidden him once before; reuniting with his wife; living in his wife’s hometown; moving to Reichenbach, Germany, where he opened a shop; living briefly in Israel; returning to Austria and working as a tailor for USEC; and immigrating to the United States with his wife and children in January 1956.

Interviewee
Max Roisman
Date
1985 April 22  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
1 sound cassette (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 10:59:01
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn508736