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Oral history interview with Berek Obuchowski

Oral History | Accession Number: 1995.A.1285.29 | RG Number: RG-50.149.0029

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

Berek Obuchowski, born in April 1928, describes life in Ozorkow, Poland in the 1930s; his family circumstances; his education; incidents of antisemitism; the German occupation of Ozorkow from 1939 to 1942; overcrowding in the town; restrictions on Jews; the humiliation of Jews; his brother's refuge in Russia; knifing by Pole; Polish antisemitism under the Germans; the German policy towards Jews; the selection of Jews by Germans in June 1942; the fate of his family in Chelmno; being an inmate in the Lodz ghetto from 1942 to 1944; conditions in the ghetto; the behavior of criminal police; the problems of cold and hunger and the difficulties of escaping; employment in ghetto; contracting typhoid and other health problems; the liquidation of the ghetto; being an inmate in Birkenau beginning in 1944; restrictions on the use of latrines; surviving the selection process; tattooing; being an inmate in Auschwitz in 1944; the Romani inmates’ fear of other inmates; the electrocution of Romanies on the perimeter wire; the food rations; being an inmate in Babitz in 1944; his friendship with a German Jewish doctor and helping in surgery; inmate clothing; the journey from Babitz to Buchenwald in December 1944 and being made to march; the shaving and disinfecting of inmates; overcrowding; being an inmate of Rehmsdorf (Troglitz) in 1945; conditions in the camp and the abuse of inmates by German civilians; breaking his foot; escaping from execution; obsession with survival; a murder committed by an inmate; the behavior of inmates towards each other; the behavior of the Kapos; the journey from Rehmsdorf to Theresienstadt in 1945; an Allied air attack on the train; rejecting the offer to make an escape attempt; the shooting of stragglers; life in Theresienstadt; his hospitalization for his broken foot; the sight of newly constructed gas chambers; liberation by Russians in May 1945; the lack of retaliation against Germans by inmates; physical condition upon liberation; his opinion of the medical treatment given by Russians; immigrating to Great Britain in 1945; details on his obsession with survival in the camps, the lack of news about the progress of war, his religious observance and beliefs, and the effects of his experiences on his attitude towards non-Jews; an incident of a random hanging of Jews in Ozorkow in 1942; his post-war visit to Chelmno; the execution of inmates in camps; sadism exhibited by guards; and his rehabilitation in Britain.

Interviewee
Berek Obuchowski
Date
1986 February 03  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
4 sound cassettes (90 min.).
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:47:53
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn510837