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Oral history interview with Silvia Sevi

Oral History | Accession Number: 1996.171.6 | RG Number: RG-50.426.0006

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

Silva Sevi (née Molho), born in Thessaloniki, Greece, describes her family; getting along well with the Greeks in the neighborhood; hearing the sounds of the attack when the Germans entered Thessaloniki; how the Jews were assembled in the city square and forced to stay there for a long time in the heat while they were beaten; how the Greek citizens wanted to help the Jews but were prevented from doing so by the Germans; how the Germans started taking young Jewish men, including her brother, for forced labor; her brother’s eventual death at Birkenau; being allowed to stay in their homes but experiencing many restrictions; being moved to the Jewish ghetto; having to give up their belongings, for which they received receipts; the organization of a Jewish administration to execute the German orders; the Jewish police force; how their rabbi told them that life in Poland would be better; being taken on the third transport with her family; enduring a torturous journey of seven days; arriving at Birkenau and how the Nazis were beating the captives; the removal of the dead from the train; giving up her jewelry, stripping, being shaved, and getting her number tattooed on her arm; the cruelty of the prison guards, including female guards; being taken with her sister, Ida, to a quarantine barrack for several weeks; witnessing the killings of newly arrived children; being sent with her sister to a block, where they were forced to do hard labor and were beaten; the conditions of the barrack and the other inmates; building steps and banks for the river; getting caught once drinking water from the river and being beaten; being transferred to Auschwitz, where she remained until January 2, 1945; going through nine selections; attempting to take food from a garbage bin with another girl, who was caught and beaten, while she remained hidden in the bin; the great kindness she received from a Russian kitchen worker; black market dealings in the compound; how her sister was taken to the hospital in Birkenau because she had typhus and died; being forced to march to a train, which they rode for three days without food or water; staying in Ravensbruck for a week then going to another labor camp, where she stayed until May; going into hiding for one night while all the Germans were running away; being liberated by Russian soldiers; how Russian soldiers raped many of the women she was with before a Yiddish-speaking Russian protected them; rummaging through German houses; being placed in a displaced persons camp; the three month journey back to Greece; being helped by Jews in Sofia, Bulgaria and the Joint; not finding any of her family; getting married to a survivor of Auschwitz; and her children and their success.

Interviewee
Silvia Sevi
Date
1996 June 18  (interview)
Language
Ladino
Extent
3 videocasettes (Betacam SP) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, courtesy of the Jeff and Toby Herr Foundation
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:40:32
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn513486