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Oral history interview with Gerda Weissmann Klein

Oral History | Accession Number: 1990.338.34 | RG Number: RG-50.037.0034

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

Gerda Weissmann Klein, born in 1924 in Bielitz (now Bielsko-Biala), Poland, describes her father, mother, older brother, and her future husband, Kurt Klein (she shows pictures of them from before the war and herself after liberation); her normal childhood and attending a Catholic school, where a rabbi gave Jewish instruction; the German invasion in September 1939; selling their possessions and knitting sweaters to survive; her brother escaping to Russia and disappearing; being forced to move into the ghetto; having to wear the yellow star; sewing uniforms in a German shop with her mother; her father’s illness; neighbors helping each other; her father being taken away in June 1942; being separated on June 29, 1942 from her mother, who was sent to Auschwitz; hiding photographs in her boots; being sent to a transit camp for girls in Sosnowiec, Poland; working at a weaving center; working for three years in quarries; ending up in a spinning mill, where there was a lot of dust and tuberculosis; the girl inmates being X-rayed every 6 to 7 weeks; working night shifts; being marched out of the camp in January 1945; getting to Czechoslovakia, where people urged them to flee and some actually helped them; her best friend dying a day before the war ended; being locked in a barn with the other girls by the guards with a time bomb, which did not exploded because of heavy rain; being released by Czech people; two Americans (including her future husband) arriving and looking for translators; Kurt Klein’s job to negotiate surrenders of towns; the horrible conditions of the camp survivors; being in the hospital for several months; how neither her parents nor other members of her family survived; Kurt being discharge in September 1945 and their marriage in France in 1946; making sure that her children knew about her experience; the importance of telling their story; how people in the camps helped each other to survive; and the expressions of love and friendship in the camps.

Interviewee
Gerda W. Klein
Language
English
Extent
1 videocassette (VHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:49:00
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn511793