Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Oral history interview with Alexei Gorlinsky, Lieutenant Petrenko, and Colonel Kotlyar

Oral History | Accession Number: 1991.264.15 | RG Number: RG-50.234.0015

Major General Alexei Gorlinsky describes liberating Kraków, Poland and Auschwitz in 1945; the three days of fighting that took place at Auschwitz; the condition of the prisoners; seeing the evidence of the Nazis’ cruelty, such as zyklon gas cans, gas chambers, crematoriums, guns, piles of gold teeth, cases full of eye glasses, and collections of women's hair; visiting a concentration camp in Ukraine; being haunted by his memories of the camps; and meeting one of the inmates, Elie Zbarovsky.
Lieutenant Petrenko describes helping to liberate Terezin (Theresienstadt) and several prison camps on Soviet territory; how his memories of the camps are the most difficult recollections to deal with; the atrocities in one camp he went to (possibly in Shepetovka, Ukraine); how the troops did not distinguish between Jews and non-Jews; a “showcase” camp in Poland that dignitaries were marched through and a factory nearby used as a crematorium by the Nazis; and witnessing children being taken from their mothers and thrown into a well.
Colonel Kotlyar describes being concerned with finding evidence of crimes committed when they entered the camps; interviewing living victims, who would serve as witnesses at the trials; seeking concrete facts such as the last names of those who died and how they died; how at one of the camps he visited, doctors saved 156 children under the age of 13 and only 84 survived; being present at the Nuremberg Trials and also Dachau; and his memories of one Jewish professor’s testimony of his treatment in a camp.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Colonel Kotlyar
Lt. Petrenko
Alexei Gorlinsky
interview:  1981 October
3 videocassettes (VHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:35:53
This page: