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Oral history interview with Berko Kolodner

Oral History | Digitized | RG Number: RG-50.243.0019

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    Oral history interview with Berko Kolodner


    Interview Summary
    Berko Kolodner, born in 1893 in Krynki, Poland, discusses his five brothers and three sisters; his father who had a leather factory; his religious upbringing; being sent to Bialystok, Poland for high school; his desire to attend university, but not being allowed to because he was Jewish; serving in the Russian army during WWI; his family being poor after the war; moving to Switzerland, where he earned his medical degree at the University of Bern in 1925; working as a physician in Vilna (now Vilnius, Lithuania); the Germans bombing and invading Vilna; being sent to the Vilna ghetto; the terrible conditions in the ghetto; his medical practice in the ghetto; his wife, who was also in Vilna; his family in Krynki being deported to Treblinka; Jacob Gens, a ghetto leader, who tried to hold the people together in the ghetto but was eventually killed; the liquidation of the ghetto; his wife being sent to Auschwitz and killed; being sent to several camps in Estonia, including Vaivara, Kuremäe, Lagedi, and Goldfields; the conditions in those camps; being taken by boat to Germany and then Stutthof, where he worked on roofs; being in Buchenwald for two weeks, where he felt like he was dying but people gave him a little more food; the overwhelming hunger at that time; being sent to Colditz in Saxony, Germany; being sent on a starvation march to Theresienstadt; working as a doctor in Theresienstadt, but having no medications to treat people; being liberated by the Russians; one friend from Vilna, Dr. Brijetski who wrote a book about their experiences and eventually moved to Israel; believing he survived by a miracle; being very sick at liberation and spending several months in the hospital in Prague, Czech Republic with a serious staph infection; recovering; working in a monastery, St. Ottilien Archabbey, near Munich for three years; working as a physician the monastery, which was partially transformed into a hospital; meeting his wife there; his positive interactions with the Americans; going to the Netherlands in 1950; immigrating to the United States; the difficulty he has experienced adjusting to life in the US; and not receiving reparations from Germany.
    Berko Kolodner
    interview:  1983 January 30
    creation: Massachusetts.
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection

    Physical Details

    1 videocassette (VHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
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    Administrative Notes

    Holder of Originals
    One Generation After
    The interview with Berko Kolodner was conducted on January 30, 1983, by One Generation After, a Boston-based group of children of Holocaust survivors, for the One Generation After oral history project. The copy of the interview was received by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on June 13, 1991
    Record last modified:
    2023-11-16 08:24:40
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