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Oral history interview with Henry Wermuth

Oral History | Accession Number: 1995.A.1285.56 | RG Number: RG-50.149.0056

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

Henry Wermuth, born April 4, 1923, describes his family background; life in Frankfurt, Germany during 1930s; his education; religious practice in his family; antisemitism before 1933; reaction to Hitler coming to power in 1933; increasing antisemitism; working for his uncle; attempting to emigrate; going to Krakow, Poland in October 1938; queuing in a tunnel at border; living with relatives; the German occupation; the black market; the arrest of his father; life in Bohemia, where he lived with his grandparents, from 1941 to 1942; living in a Bohemia ghetto; the role of the Judenrat; feigning tuberculosis to avoid being registered for work; working at the Klaj ammunition camp; the deportation of his mother and sister; life and conditions in the Klaj camp; beginning to a write book in the camp; escaping from the camp; attempting to derail a train; being in the Montelupe prison then sent back to Klaj; being sent to Plaszow concentration camp in February 1943; his work duties; Commandant Goeth shooting at inmates; conditions in the camp; the role of Jewish police; hiding with a Jewish policeman’s relative to avoid execution; witnessing a public hanging; the regularity of shootings; being shot at by Goeth; his work unloading bricks from trains; transfers from the camp; getting into Kielcz (Kielce) concentration camp with his father in November 1943; civilian management of the camp; unloading metal from trains; food rations; the escape of inmates; being sent by cattle truck to Auschwitz in July 1944; arriving in the camp; hearing the camp orchestra; his work building roads; the relationship between block leader and inmates; difficulties for orthodox Jews; his attitude towards religion; selections; working as painter at IG Farben works and working with civilian employees; the relationship between inmates and Kapos; the daily routine; being sent to Nordhausen by cattle truck in January 1945; being briefly interned at camp in the Harz mountains; being interned at Helmstedt camp (Beendorf concentration camp); his work duties; the execution of inmates who were too weak to work; a march following the evacuation from the camp in April 1945; helping his father to walk; his father’s death on April 27, 1945; being interned at Mauthausen; problems with dysentery; being liberated by American troops on May 5, 1945; recovering in a hospital tent; registering for emigration to Palestine; living in a refugee camp in Italy; deciding not to emigrate to Palestine; his attitude towards other people's survival stories; his involvement in the black market; traveling to Austria in December 1945; moving to refugee camps in Munich, Germany and Frankfurt, Germany; writing his autobiography; his attitude towards Germans; his determination to be successful; and his attitude towards the death of his sister.

Interviewee
Henry Wermuth
Date
1986 October  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
13 sound cassettes (90 min.).
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:52:38
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn510859