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Oral history interview with Estera Brunstein

Oral History | Accession Number: 1995.A.1285.37 | RG Number: RG-50.149.0037

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

Estera Brunstein, born in Lodz, Poland in May 6, 1928, describes her family; education; the relations between Jews and non-Jews; the German invasion of Poland in September 1939; the initial restrictions against Jews; wearing a yellow Star of David; the fate of her brother and father; moving to the Lodz Ghetto in 1940; cultural activities in the ghetto; working in a carpet factory and the disappearance of other workers; witnessing patients being taken from the ghetto hospital by Germans in September 1942; hiding from the Germans in an attic; her brother’s escape from Germans; conditions in the ghetto, the shortage of food, and the social life; the speculation on the fate of Romanies kept near the ghetto; the deportation of her brother to a labor camp; the suffering of Czech Jews brought into the ghetto; the start of the liquidation of the ghetto in 1944; hearing war news from resistance groups; growing vegetables; being deported to Auschwitz and the train journey there; her initial impressions of the camp; the selection procedure; being separated from her mother; showering; spending the first night in a field; meeting a school friend; the fate of her mother; being transferred to a camp near Hanover, Germany and her work clearing bombed ruins in Hanover; the cruelty of the German commandant; their clothing and food; the cruelty of the female guards and the kindness of male guards; marching to Bergen-Belsen in 1945; working in the kitchens; the collective punishment of kitchen staff; contracting typhoid; being liberated by British forces in April 1945; rations; the policy of forcing Germans to clear corpses; being sent to a makeshift hospital; coping with lice; the kindness of British padre John Davies; deaths of inmates after liberation; her belief that family members would survive; her attitude towards Germans; her reflections on her Holocaust experiences; babies in the Lodz Ghetto; her post-war employment; and her attitude towards Jewish faith.

Interviewee
Estera Brunstein
Date
1985 October 29  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
3 sound cassettes (90 min.).
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:49:35
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn510845