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Oral history interview with Henry Kress

Oral History | Accession Number: 2000.91.34 | RG Number: RG-50.493.0034

Henry Kress (né Heniek Krzesiwo), born on July 26, 1924 in Sosnowiec, Poland, describes his family life and childhood; his parents, sister, and close extended family; his father who worked for a large fabric company; graduating in 1939 from school and going to Krakow, Poland due to the impending war; his parents deciding to move 25 miles outside of Krakow because of the bombings; the destruction caused by the German occupation; Jews being ordered to wear the Star of David; getting up every day at 2:00 AM to stand in line until 7:00-8:00 AM to get bread for his family; the liquidation of the ghetto in August 1943 and the subsequent deportations; hiding in a bunker with his parents and several others until they were found; being placed on a train and sent to Auschwitz; his mother telling him “I am going to die, but you are young, try to survive”; arriving in Auschwitz and being separated from his parents, which was the last time he saw them; being sent to Birkenau but eventually placed in Auschwitz Block 1 and then Block 23; working to deliver coal and discovering his sister alive in Birkenau and sneaking over to see her; Henry and his friend Leo escaping from a Death March in January 1945; making it back to Poland and being given a job with the Russian Secret Service; leaving for the American zone in Germany; waiting for three years for his visa to the United States; arriving in the US in 1940 and meeting up with his sister; getting married to Mary Kress in 1951 (he had met her in Germany in 1946 and she had also survived Auschwitz); and having two children and living in Irvine, CA.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Kress, Henry
Schreiber, Jacob
interview:  1993 February 05
3 videocassettes (U-Matic) : sound, color ; 3/4 in..
Record last modified: 2022-06-23 09:54:50
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