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Oral history interview with Henny Gurko

Oral History | Accession Number: 1995.A.1269.7 | RG Number: RG-50.470.0007

Henia (Henny) Gurko (née Durmashkin), born in 1926 in Vilnius, Lithuania, discusses being deported from the Vilnius ghetto to Kaiserwald concentration camp for two days and then to Dünawerke for nearly a year; being sent to Stutthof, Ponewesch, and Landsberg; being forced to sing at Landsberg with six other musicians in front of the SS and others; singing the Schubert Serenade in German; walking with the orchestra for miles on Sundays to other camps and giving concerts; performing forced labor in Moll, where she was made to walk up and down a man-made mountain carrying rocks and stones; being with her sister during this time; being sent on a forced march; hearing encouragement from anti-Nazi people on some of the farms they passed; arriving at a Ukrainian camp, where the men were very rough; being liberated by the Americans; the hanging of the camp’s leader; the orchestra continuing on for years after the war; being taken to St. Ottilien, a church in Eresing, Germany; going to Fürstenfeldbruck, Germany and staying there for two years; participating in the orchestra; hearing David Ben Gurion speak; Leonard Bernstein conducting the orchestra in 1948; conditions in the displaced persons (DP) camp; learning that her brother Shimshonzaev (Vladimir Durmashkin) had been killed in a camp; finding it difficult to be happy after so many losses; the orchestra performing during the Nuremberg trials in striped jackets; and singing songs from the ghettos about children, because so many of the children were killed.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Gurko, Henny
Bradley, Sandra
interview:  1995 February 13
1 videocassette (D2) : sound, color ; 3/4 in..
Record last modified: 2022-06-24 20:21:22
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