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Oral history interview with Sara Karp

Oral History | Accession Number: 1995.A.1272.363 | RG Number: RG-50.120.0363

Sara Karp, born in Bedzin, Poland in 1923, describes being the oldest of six children; her father having a shoe store and a bakery; attending school until she was 15, when she began an apprenticeship as a seamstress; antisemitism before the war; German Jewish refugees arriving in 1939; the German invasion and the burning of the synagogue; Poles luting Jewish homes; her family escaping and returning to find her father’s store had been burned; her father’s death; her family surviving by gradually selling their belongings; her oldest brother being sent to Buchenwald in 1940; the Judenrat sending her to a clothing factory near Auschwitz; Zionist youth activities before and during the war; her family being separated in 1941 and bribing Germans to let her young brother remain with her; the Jewish police taking their house to force her oldest brother out of hiding, but relatives bribing the police; fear, friends, relatives, and the resistance movement; her mother changing their last name to her maiden name, Zemer; going to the ghetto in 1942; the living quarters, hardship, work, hunger, and food stamps from the Judenrat; hearing about the liquidation and hiding in a bunker but the Germans discovering them; being taken to Birkenau; the train ride there; selections; her group of four friends who protected her when she was sick; her work in the crematoria sorting clothing and an explosion that took place at the end of 1944; the hanging of a woman who was involved with the explosion; hearing of an underground movement in Auschwitz; being sent on a death march to Ravensbrück and then Malchow; working in a weapons factory until it was bombed; the Red Cross coming to the camp and taking 300 Polish nationals to Sweden; living in a school building in Malmö, where they were taken care of and fed; being taken two weeks later to Doverstock; being taken by the Israeli Hechalutz to the village of Jungsbrav; working in a chocolate factory; her work at camp Malchow filling bullets and explosives; receiving letters from France from surviving relatives; deciding to go to Israel and going to Kibbutz Dror in Sweden in preparation for Aliyah; the British Army stopping the boat to Israel and spending a year in Cyprus, where she met her husband; and going to Israel in April 1948.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Sara Karp
interview:  2000 January 06
10 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 09:50:15
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