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Oral history interview with Jerzy Herszberg

Oral History | Accession Number: 1995.A.1285.18 | RG Number: RG-50.149.0018

Jerzy Herszberg describes his background in Poznan, Poland, in the 1930s; Polish antisemitism; his family circumstances; their level of knowledge about Hitler; the arrival of Jewish refugees in Poznan; being in the Łódź Ghetto from 1940 to 1944; conditions in the ghetto; the death of his mother; his job as a messenger; selections in the ghetto in 1942; food in the ghetto and conditions during the winter; his work making parachute harnesses; hospitalization during the typhoid epidemic in 1942; the liquidation of the ghetto in July 1944; hiding in a cellar and leaving with the police deportees; the train journey to Auschwitz-Birkenau and being there from July to November 1944; his reaction upon arriving in the camp; ex-policemen in the camp; the camp guards; the selection process; being moved to Birkenau; rations in the camp; the discovery of a water source; the contrast in diets between the ghetto and camp; morning ablutions; roll calls; latrines; the growing awareness of nature of camp; his method for leaving Birkenau; the train journey to Braunschweig in November 1944; arriving in the camp; conditions in the camp; the infestations of lice; working in a factory and the German master; rations and water supply in the factory; Ukrainian female workers; Allied air raids; the state of his health at that time; the character of German and Jewish Kapos; his will to survive; companionship in the camp and the treatment of dead and sick inmates; the journey to Watenstedt in February 1945; the accommodations and size of the camp; Spanish inmates playing music; the different nationalities in the camp; activities when they were confined to the barracks; why Germans evacuated inmates; being sent to Ravensbrück in March 1945; Hungarian inmates; the visit of a Red Cross representative; being in Wöbbelin from April 1945 to May 1945; the preparations of Kapos to leave and the disappearance of guards; being liberated by US troops; trips into the Russian zone; the relations between the US and Russian troops; going to Poland through Czechoslovakia and the attitude of Czechoslovakians to camp survivors; going to Great Britain in August 1945; Theresienstadt transit camp; the fate of his sister; being a refugee in England; his flight from Prague, Czech Republic to Britain with the group “The Boys”; arriving in Windermere, England; continuing his education; receiving reparations; and his post-war visits to Germany and Poland.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Herszberg, Jerzy
interview:  1986 November
5 sound cassettes (90 min.).
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 20:09:49
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