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Oral history interview with Mitchell Falenski

Oral History | Accession Number: 1990.338.16 | RG Number: RG-50.037.0016

Mitchell Falenski, born in Warsaw, Poland, describes his close-knit, middle-class family; his parents, brother, and sister; his father’s dry goods store (he shows a 1939 high school photograph of himself); the German occupation and being forced to do useless busy work until 1941-1942 when the ghetto walls were built; conditions in the ghetto; being taken in 1942 to a concentration camp in Szamos and then Majdanek a year later; never seeing his parents again; being forced to do hard, senseless labor; witnessing infanticide; helping to remove dead bodies from Majdanek; the interactions between the inmates; being hit on the head by a supervisor and still having a scar from it; experiencing nightmares after the Holocaust; being transferred to a munitions factory in Czestochowa with some friends, whom he still sees in Buffalo, NY; the German guards leaving as the Russians approached; being liberated by the Russians (he shows a shirt that he made from rags in the camp and a photographs of himself in an American army coat supplied by UNRRA); getting a job as a reporter for a Polish Government newspaper in Lublin, Poland; getting married; being shot in the abdomen by an antisemite and being operated on in an army hospital; going to Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland) then Sweden in 1947 with his wife and daughter; being trained as a machinist; moving to Buffalo, NY, where he worked as a machinist first for Curtis-Wright and later in maintenance for Roswell Park Memorial Hospital; only telling his daughter part of his story; and how it’s important for the younger generation to know and not to forget.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Mitchell Falenski
Mrs. Toby Back
interview:  1990 July
1 videocassette (VHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:35:05
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