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Oral history interview with Jack Kagan

Oral History | Accession Number: 1995.A.1285.22 | RG Number: RG-50.149.0022

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.

Jack Kagan, born in 1929 in Novogrudok, Poland (now Navahrudak, Belarus), describes the demographics of the Novogrudok area, including the languages spoken and poverty in the peasantry; his family and education; the relations between Jews and non-Jews; the role of Polish nationalists; Jewish political organizations; the religious attitude of his family; examples of Polish antisemitism; the Russian occupation of the Novogrudok area from 1939 to 1941; the Russian introduction of communists measures; his experiences with the pioneers; the Jews' welcome for Russians and the suppression of antisemitism; opportunities for Jews; the changes in his schooling; the German attack on Russia in June 1941 and the Russian retreat; the German bombing of Novogrudok; the German treatment of Russian POWs and witnessing a German killing a Russian POW; the German occupation of Novogrudok; the Polish collaboration with Germans; his belief that Germany could not win the war; Germans massacring the Jewish population on July 12, 1941; being an inmate in the Piereszeka Ghetto from December 1941 to August 1942; the work regime within the ghetto; narrowly escaping from the German round up in May 1942; the massacre in Piereszeka Ghetto on July 8, 1942; conditions in the ghetto and the rations; relations between ghetto inmates; receiving aid from outside ghetto; being in the Novogrudok labor camp from August 1942 to May 1943; the character of the German commandant; his reaction to Appells and escapes; his own escape from the camp in December 1942; an attempt to join a partisan group; returning to the camp and the amputation of his toes because of frostbite; surviving a massacre on July 5, 1943; an inmate's concealed radio; plans for a mass escape; hearing the news of the Piereszeka Ghetto liquidation in January 1943; the construction of an escape tunnel; escaping from the Novogrudok Camp in September 1943; being with partisans in the Naliboki Camp from 1943 to 1944; life with the partisans, including the supply problems and workshops; the German counter-measures; the attitude of peasants towards partisans and the partisan tactics towards them; the aid given by Russians; camp defenses; relations between his group and the Polish partisans; dissensions amongst the partisans; orders not to disband partisans on liberation; disbanding of his partisan family group in June 1944; the fate of Romanies in the area; the German use of air power; partisan discipline, ranks, and direction; partisan morale; the partisan revenge group; the formation of farmer's family groups; his partisan pension; and inmate morale in the labor camps.

Interviewee
Jack Kagan
Date
1986 June 29  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
5 sound cassettes (90 min.).
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:46:01
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn510829