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Oral history interview with Chaim Hermelin

Oral History | Accession Number: 1995.A.1272.386 | RG Number: RG-50.120.0386

Chaim Hermelin, born on January 1, 1927 in Radzivilov, Volhynia, Ukraine, describes his father, who owned a printing press and his mother, who was a housewife; having two older siblings; his sister’s death and his brother’s survival; having a Tarbut school education; his family’s Zionist and religious beliefs; his family moving in 1939 to Brody, Ukraine; the Russian invasion in 1941; witnessing deportations to Siberia; the German take over and the almot immediate roundups and killings; his father being shot; the fate of his grandfather; the “Aktions” and witnessing the mass murder of Jews; being forced to move to a ghetto, where he helped organize the underground; the Judenrat and the Jewish police; his job in the ghetto; running away to Piaksi then Komarivka and trying to find work on farms; joining the partisans and transferring to the Red Army as a trainee; being an aide to a major; the major sending him to study mechanics; his job maintaining the “fleet” of wagons and horses and later the vehicles of the army; his brother being taken to the Russian Army; reuniting with his brother over 14 years later in Israel; his parents and sister not surviving; life on the Gordonia kibbutz in Bytom, Poland; his work in the organization of illegal Jewish immigration to Palestine; living in Barletta, Italy; his efforts to get to Palestine and being stopped by the British; spending time in a detention camp in Cyprus, from which he escaped after a period of three months and ten days; how when he returned home, he stopped being observant, but returned to his faith after one of his sons was killed during the Yom Kippur War; and his thoughts on the future of Israel.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Chaim Hermelin
interview:  2000 November 16
7 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: 2020-08-03 11:26:24
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