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Oral history interview with Isaac Finkelstein

Oral History | Digitized | Accession Number: 1995.A.1285.40 | RG Number: RG-50.149.0040

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    Oral history interview with Isaac Finkelstein


    Interview Summary
    Isaac Finkelstein, born circa 1914 in Poland, describes his childhood in Poland; his family and education; antisemitism in pre-war Poland; the relations between Jews and Poles including the question of inter-marriage; the degree of migration; languages spoken; his involvement in the Zionist youth movement; his political attitudes; serving in the Polish Army from 1935 to 1936; antisemitism in the Polish Army; the nature of basic training; suicides of new recruits; the pre-war attitude of Poles towards Germans; being mobilized with the 25th Infantry Regiment as a private in August 1939; the attitude of Poles towards fighting Russians; the lack of modern equipment; being wounded in the leg by German machine gun fire; being captured and hospitalized; the Germans using machine guns against Polish troops and civilians; his time in a convent hospital from 1939 to 1940; being transferred to a POW camp; being an inmate in the Piotrkow Trybunalski Ghetto from 1940 to 1942; his status as an ex-POW; conditions in the ghetto; the speculation on future fate of Jewish inmates; the role and behavior of Jewish police; plans to escape from the ghetto; the rounding up of Jewish inmates in 1942; being an inmate in Bugaj Labor Camp from 1942 to 1944; his work duties; smuggling food into the camp; conditions, beatings, and executions in the camp; being transferred to Czestochowa concentration camp in 1944; working in a steel foundry; being sent to Buchenwald concentration camp in 1944; the removal of his finger nails; being sent to Colditz concentration camp (Oflag IVC) and his work duties; marching to Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1945; conditions in the camp; his physical condition; the liberation of the camp; escorting a group of Jewish children bound for Windermere, England; his reflections on his Holocaust experience; relations between camp inmates; the psychological state of camp inmates; the death of his father in Buchenwald; the attitude of child inmates to camps; and his attitude towards Germans.
    Isaac Finkelstein
    interview:  1985 November 28

    Physical Details

    2 sound cassettes (90 min.).

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    Restrictions on use. Permission to copy and/or use recordings in any production must be granted by the Imperial War Museums.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Holder of Originals
    Imperial War Museum
    The interview was conducted by the Imperial War Museum as part of their retrospective oral history interview program. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum acquired a copy of the interview with Isaac Finkelstein from the Imperial War Museum in February 1995.
    Record last modified:
    2023-11-16 08:17:30
    This page:

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