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Oral history interview with Elsa Lustgarten

Oral History | Accession Number: 1994.A.0051.5 | RG Number: RG-50.308.0005

Elsa-Shifra Lustgarten (née Lapa) discusses her participation in the Akiva Zionist youth movement and the resistance movement in Kraków during the war; her mentor and hero Shishon “Symek” Draenger, who had been the head of her branch of the Akiva youth group in Kraków; Symek Draenger’s activity as the editor of the Akiba journal, for which he was arrested and imprisoned for three months (his wife Gusta Davidson Dranger accompanied him to the prison); the release of Symek Draenger from prison; transmitting information from Symek Draenger to other members of the group; one of the first tasks given to members of the group which was to adopt a family that had been relocated to Kraków; the cooperation between the Warsaw Akiva group and the Kraków Akiva group; helping her family stay out of danger; her father’s and her father-in-law’s continuing faith in God; her sister giving birth in the ghetto to a stillborn son and her father expressing relief that at least the Germans would have one less Jewish child to torture and murder; the “vow” that she was asked to recite when she became a part of the resistance; the famous “Oneg Shabbat,” the last time all the members of the group would celebrate Shabbat altogether; details on the missions she conducted; Symek Lustgarten’s forfeiture of a valuable watch his father gave him in order to save his life; plastering signs all over German trucks and structures calling for revenge; the Cyganeria café attack on December 22, 1942; the discourse around embracing the Jewish role in the resistance; a woman who owned a pub who agreed to hide them by taking them to a church and “converting them”; Symek Dranger’s efforts to create a group of writers and artists, to harbor them in a bunker and charge members of the resistance to ensure that their needs were met and that their safety was guaranteed so they could document the war; the frenzied writing of Gole Mire and Gusta Davidson Dranger in prison; crowding around the writing woman in order to protect her and hide the text if a guard came in, and procuring pencils, pens and paper by whatever means possible; her knowledge of several executions, including her brother-in-law Poldek Lustgarten, Gole Mire, and a woman named Tsesha; their lives in the prison; singing as a form of resistance; and being deported with the two Wasserman sisters.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Lustgarten, Elsa
Pfefferkorn, Dr. Eli
interview:  1987 October
8 videocassettes (U-Matic) : sound, color ; 3/4 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
Record last modified: 2022-06-24 20:21:17
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