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Oral history interview with Isaac Finkelstein

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

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

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.

Interviewee
Isaac Finkelstein
Date
1985 November 28  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
2 sound cassettes (90 min.).
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:50:09
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn510848