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Oral history interview with Max Garcia

Oral History | Accession Number: 1999.A.0122.554 | RG Number: RG-50.477.0554

The interviews describe Mr. Garcia's childhood and family life in Amsterdam, Holland, the family's move to Antwerp, Belgium during the 1930s, and their return to Holland after the annexation of Czechoslovakia by Nazi Germany in June 1939. Mr. Garcia describes antisemitism, Dutch fascism, and the intial arrests of Jewish youth in 1941. He discusses the deportations and the fear that accompanied round-ups of members of the Jewish community, and in particular describes the fate of his sister, who was deported in December 1942 and eventually perished in Auschwitz, and his parents who were deported to Sobibor in July 1943.

Mr. Garcia describes going into hiding in January 1943, being caught and shipped first to Westerbork, then to Auschwitz-Birkenau. He discusses his experiences at Auschwitz, his efforts to survive and his assignment to Buna (Monowitz) concentration camp, where Germans were building factories for I.G. Farben. Mr. Garcia discusses his ability to survive the deprivations and horrors of Auschwitz, and credits his friend and mentor Lex Van Veedles, who protected him, with helping him to obtain work details at Auschwitz that would allow him better food and conditions.

Mr. Garcia describes being sent to Mauthausen in January 1945 and his experiences there and in Ebensee concentration camp, the hardships he endured, and his liberation by American troops in May 1945. He relates his work as interpreter for the America Army, and his work in the Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC). Mr. Garcia describes his immigration to the United States, the difficulties in adapting there, his career as an architect, and the prominent role he played in the establishment of the Holocaust Center of Northern California in San Francisco, California. He also discusses his work organizing a 45th anniversary gathering to honor American liberators in 1990.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Max R. Garcia
Sandra Bendayan
interview:  1990 October 18
interview:  1990 November 15
interview:  1991 February 21
interview:  1991 June 20
5 videocassettes (SVHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Jewish Family and Children's Services of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:35:34
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