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Oral history interview with Peter Gersch

Oral History | Accession Number: 1992.A.0126.15 | RG Number: RG-50.156.0015

Peter Gersch (né Pinchas Gerszonowicz), born on January 21, 1921 in Miechów, Poland, discusses his Father Yutka, who was a machine shop owner; his mother Chana Midlich (died 1975); speaking Yiddish and Polish at home; growing up in a religious home; attending cheder and having a bar mitzvah; the antisemitism in Poland; the boycotts of his father’s business; having seven uncles (all perished in 1942); the beginning of the war; attempting to escape to Russia with his brother and failing to do so; the occupation of Miechów; his father’s shop remaining open as the Germans needed vehicle repairs; the creation of a ghetto in 1941; the deportation of several hundred people in boxcars to Bergen-Belsen in 1942; being on one of the last transports with his father; his mother and sister being hidden by a German friend in Krakow, Poland; being sent with his father to work at an airport in Krakow, where they worked as machinists; attempting to get false papers for his mother and sister, being caught, and being badly beaten; being sent to camp Plaszow in March 1943; life in the camp; his work shoeing horses; being in the camp with his father and brother; being taken by horse and buggy in January 1945 to Auschwitz for two weeks; being sent to Buchenwald and later to Flossenbürg; marching to Dachau; escaping one night and hiding on top of grain in a silo for four days until the US Army arrived; being put in homes with other former prisoners in Floss, Germany; his father’s death in Gross Rosen; the liberation of his brother from Valdenburg work camp; reuniting with his brother in June 1945; riding a motorcycle towards Krakow; his motorcycle being taken by the Russians in Czechoslovakia; being imprisoned for 48 hours before being released by a Jewish Russian officer; returning to Krakow and finding his mother and sister; the death of his older brother in Plaszow; traveling by boxcar to Munich, Germany; living in a displaced persons camp in Feldafing, Germany until early 1946; moving to Münchberg and starting a small steel business with a friend, Kobert; getting married; immigrating to the United States and settling in St. Paul, MN; and his thoughts on why he survived.


Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Interviewee
Peter Gersch
Interviewer
Rhoda G. Lewin
Date
interview:  1983 March 31
Language
English
Extent
1 sound cassette (90 min.).
 
Record last modified: 2020-03-31 14:25:03
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn510669