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Oral history interview with Paulette Stessin

Oral History | Accession Number: 2001.267 | RG Number: RG-50.106.0150

Paulette Stessin, born in Metz, France, discusses her family and childhood in France; her parents, who sold clothing in the market; keeping kosher; her understanding of events in Germany in 1938 when she was 17 or 18; her family’s move to Angouleme, France where they thought they would be safe; daily life in Angouleme; her work as a hairdresser in Brive la Gaillarde, France, where there was one Jewish family; being arrested near Brive in April 1944; being transferred to Drancy and then to Auschwitz-Birkenau; her memories of Auschwitz; working on a road hauling stones; “Pitchipoi,” a term referring to the imaginary place they would be sent to and used by the prisoners in Drancy; the addition of a chemical to the women’s soup to suppress their menstrual cycles, which did not work on her; deciding to join her “camp sister”, a Dutch woman in another barrack, who was being deported; arriving at Bergen-Belsen; her memories of the camp; being liberated in April 1945; traveling to Paris; her reintegration at the Hotel Lutetia; and her decision to return to Angouleme.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Stessin, Paulette
Haas-Hammel, Polly
interview:  2001 November 09
2 sound cassettes (60 min.).
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 19:52:19
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