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Oral history interview with Sam Bankhalter

Oral History | Digitized | Accession Number: 1992.A.0126.4 | RG Number: RG-50.156.0004

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    Oral history interview with Sam Bankhalter


    Interview Summary
    Sam Bankhalter (Jewish name, Saja), born in Łódź, Poland in 1926, describes his parents and grandparents; his father’s lumber and construction business; their interactions with non-Jews; antisemitism in Poland; his education; his family’s religious activities; the anti-Jewish propaganda in Poland; the German invasion; going to Warsaw, Poland with his brothers; the bombardment in Warsaw; returing to Łódź; the Littmanstadt Ghetto; his grandmother living with his family and dying later in the ghetto; being picked up on February 28, 1940 during the “Bloody Thursday” (also called “Blitigah Donestik”) roundup and being deported to Auschwitz; being forced to build the Auschwitz camp; escaping the camp and getting back to Łódź; being rounded up again and sent to Krakow, Poland then Auschwitz; being sent to several different camps between 1940 and 1945, including Buchenwald, Netzbachtahl, Krevinkl, and Ohrdruf; his experiences in the Warsaw ghetto; daily life in Auschwitz and working in the crematorium for 11 months; the typhus epidemic in the camp; his methods for survival; selections in the camp; his parents coming to Auschwitz and dying; the Poles, Romanies, and political prisoners in the camp; his limited interactions with other inmates; being evacuated from Auschwitz and sent on a death march to Buchenwald; being liberated; being sent to a hospital in Marseille, France; how his older brother committed suicide in Auschwitz; receiving help from HIAS; living in a displaced persons camp in Frankfurt, Germany; getting married in Germany to another Holocaust survivor; living in Israel and helping to smuggle people in to Israel; immigrating to the United States; speaking to his children about his experiences during the Holocaust; ethnic relations in the US; and his personal philosophies.
    Sam Bankhalter
    Rhoda G. Lewin
    interview:  1984 August 13

    Physical Details

    1 sound cassette (90 min.).

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Topical Term
    Anti-Jewish propaganda. Antisemitism--Poland. Bombing, Aerial--Poland--Warsaw. Concentration camp escapes. Concentration camp inmates--Selection process. Concentration camp inmates--Suicidal behavior. Concentration camp tattoos. Concentration camps--Psychological aspects. Crematoriums. Death march survivors. Death marches. Forced labor. Holocaust survivors--Marriage. Holocaust survivors--United States. Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Poland--Personal narratives. Jewish ghettos--Poland--Łódź. Jewish ghettos--Poland--Warsaw. Jews--Persecutions--Poland. Jews--Poland--Łódź. Prisoners--Abuse of--Poland. Refugee camps--Germany. Typhus fever. World War, 1939-1945--Concentration camps. World War, 1939-1945--Conscript labor--Poland. World War, 1939-1945--Deportations from Poland. Men--Personal narratives.
    Personal Name
    Bankhalter, Sam, 1926-

    Administrative Notes

    The interview with Sam Bankhalter was conducted by Rhoda G. Lewin on August 13, 1984 as part of a Holocaust oral history project sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council, Anti-Defamation League of Minnesota and the Dakotas. The interview was acquired by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in October 1992.
    Record last modified:
    2023-11-16 08:18:17
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