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Oral history interview with Yoel Shtrol

Oral History | Accession Number: 1995.A.1272.355 | RG Number: RG-50.120.0355

Yoel Shtrol, born in 1928 in Oroszmezo, Transylvania (Rus, Romania), describes being one of four; the death of his twin brother and a sister in Auschwitz; the survival of his older brother; working in forestry; attending regular school as well as a cheder; how his family was one of four Jewish families in his village; the strong antisemitism throughout his community; the Hungarian occupation and imposing antisemitic laws; the closing of Jewish schools; going to high school in Cluj (Cluj-Napoca, Romania) and the closing of his school; going to a trade school to learn carpentry; his mother dying in 1940; persecution by the Hungarians and the Germans in 1941; the rule of the Hungarian Nazi party and Jews surviving by giving bribes; his family being allowed to keep their home by allowing it to be used as a brothel; the Jews in Oroszmezo being taken to Dej, Romania and a forced labor camp before being taken to Auschwitz; the transport in the cattle cars; being 16 years old when he was sent to Auschwitz; being sent first to the twins’ barracks and then being taken to the Roma camp to fill a quota; being separated from his family; being taken to Buchenwald two weeks later; the behavior of the Kapos and Lagerälteste; his work carrying rocks back and forth; being taken to Rehmsdorf (Tröglitz), where they worked at the Brabag factory that produced airplane fuel; being sent into the fields when the factory was bombed by the Allies; working as a helper to the chief of the Roma camp and getting extra food; returning to Auschwitz and being taken with others to Mariensberg (Marienbad) in April 1945; escaping to the forest, and being shot at by the Germans; being marched to Terezín (Theresienstadt); being taken to a large building named Camp Hamburg; being liberated by the Russians on May 8; being very sick and being taken in by a Czech family; being taken to a children’s house in Prague, Czech Republic, where he stayed for a year and a half; the children’s state of mind as depressed and hopeless; returning to his village, but not being allowed to enter his home; how antisemitism was worse than before the war; going to Germany and Hungary to search for relatives, but finding none; returning to his village and supporting himself by begging; going to Dej, where his oldest brother found him and took him to live with his family; going to Bucharest, Romania, where he joined an Aliya Bet group and went by boat to Cyprus, where he stayed for six months; being taken with a group of children to Israel in 1947; joining the IDF (Tseva Haganah LeYisra'el) in May 1948; his discharge and studying law; being the director of the immigration absorption department; and the importance of teaching younger generations about the Holocaust.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Yoel Shtrol
interview:  1999 November 11
5 videocasettes (Betacam SP) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, courtesy of the Jeff and Toby Herr Foundation
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:33:37
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