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Oral history interview with Peter Gersch

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

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    Oral history interview with Peter Gersch


    Interview Summary
    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.
    Peter Gersch
    Rhoda G. Lewin
    interview:  1983 March 31

    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

    Personal Name
    Gersch, Peter.

    Administrative Notes

    The interview with Peter Gersch was conducted by Rhoda G. Lewin on March 31, 1983 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 08:18:21
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