Oral history interview with Lee Potasinski
Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
- Lee Potasinski
1987 May 27
1 videocassette (VHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Record last modified: 2023-11-16 08:08:57
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Also in Queensborough Community College oral history collection
Oral history interviews conducted by the Queensborough Community College Holocaust Resource Center and Archives
Date: 1989 June 28
Jacob Barosin, born in Riga, Latvia, describes growing up in Berlin, Germany; moving to Paris, France in 1933 with his wife; working illegally; the German invasion; being arrested with his wife as suspected German spies by the French government; being sent to Sportrinas and separated from his wife; being sent to a French labor camp; antisemitic laws un the Germans; his wife being sent to Nice, France; leaving the forced labor and going to Southern France, where he reunited with his wife; staying in Florac, France; being arrested in February 1943 and sent to Gurs; the fear and tension during the wait in the camp; conditions in the camp and staying there for seven weeks; being transferred to a labor camp in Geak; his work planting onions; getting furlough and escaping to Florac, where he joined his wife in hiding; their hiding place in the attic of a Christian school teacher; being helped by the entire village and receiving false identity papers; and the paintings he did of his Holocaust experiences.
Herman Haller describes growing up in Berlin, Germany; his Polish parents and their furniture store; his two brothers and three sisters; living a comfortable middle-class life until 1933; anti-Jewish boycotts; his parents divorcing and his father moving to Palestine; not being allowed to attend public school and going to a Jewish school; Kristallnacht in 1938 and the destruction of the synagogue; going with his brothers to Antwerp, Belgium in December 1938 then Paris, France in January 1939 and returning to Antwerp; being helped by a Jewish organization and staying with Jewish families; the Nazi invasion of Belgium; his aunt and mother going to London, England; the deportations from Belgium; ration cards and finding a job in a bakery; being taken on a passenger train to Somme, France; being forced to help build a wall along the coast; contracting typhoid; being marched to the train station and sent to Brussels, Belgium then Malines; the journey to Auschwitz and arriving in the camp; the Kapos; taking classes on bricklaying and building a factory; working in the factory, making tools; passing messages between men and women in the camp; befriending Claire Haymond, with whom he is still friends; an underground plan to blow up the crematoria; the punishment of those who participated in the sabotage; being evacuated on January 18, 1945 and sent on a death march to Reichenau (possibly Rychnov nad Kněžnou, Czech Republic); being loaded onto cattle cars and sent to Gross-Rosen; conditions in Gross-Rosen, digging trenches for the dead; being marched to Hirschberg (Jelenia Góra, Poland), where they stay in the camp for a few days; being taken by train to Buchenwald in March 1945; receiving help from the political prisoners; being liberated on April 11, 1945; the Americans evacuating the sick people to Weimar, Germany, where they were put in a school that had been converted into a hospital; being sent to Belgium in May 1945; finding his brother and mother; and going to the United States in 1947 while his brother went to Palestine and his mother remained in London.
Alfred Lipson describes growing up in Radom, Poland; graduating in 1939; experiencing antisemitism; the beginning of the war; fleeing to the Vistula River then his grandparents’ town near Warsaw, Poland; going to a camp and being separated from his father; Yom Kippur in 1939; being allowed to leave the camp and reuniting with his father in Radom; being ordered into a ghetto in 1941; being deported in August 1942 and working in a munitions factory outside Radom; working as a bookkeeper; he and his family hiding during the 1942 deportations; being physically attacked by his boss; going back to work at the munitions factory; teaching his two sisters Latin and algebra and inviting others to the illegal classes; his job working as a treasurer and working with William Bloom, who was tried and hanged after the war; working as a bookkeeper for an SS officer, who saved his family from being deported; getting married in 1943; his wife becoming a secretary in his office; being sent to another camp in January 1944; being marched down the main street of Radom; and never seeing Radom again.