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Oral history interview with Maria Mandel

Oral History | Accession Number: 2002.369 | RG Number: RG-50.106.0157

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

Maria Myriam Mandel, born 1938 in Czerwinsk, Poland, discusses the assembly of the town's citizens in a square and their deportation; her family's escape through a bakery door; hiding from the Gestapo in granaries, cemeteries, and the woods; her parents’ execution by the Gestapo in 1942; her placement by her parents in a neighbor's home from 1942 to 1947; her new name, Katia Gortak; the kindness of her foster mother and brother; her Catholic education; her antisemitic feelings; the painful loss of her brother and sister who were placed in other families and abandoned; the arrival of the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) at the end of the war; reuniting with her uncles in America and France; her shock at learning she was Jewish; her transfer to a Jewish orphanage in Czerwinsk, where she received a Jewish education; her recollections of antisemitism at the war's end; her life in the orphanage from 1947 to 1949; visits by her foster mother; her bitterness when visits ceased; how the JDC changed her birth date from 1938 to 1937 to allow her to travel alone from Poland to France; her arrival in Paris, France; her refusal to join her uncle in America; and her life in Perigueux, France with her paternal uncle and his family.

Interviewee
Ms. Maria Mandel
Interviewer
Polly Haas-Hammel
Date
2002 October 17  (interview)
Language
French
Extent
1 sound cassette (60 min.).