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Oral history interview with Mayer Relles

Oral History | Accession Number: 1997.A.0441.119 | RG Number: RG-50.462.0119

Rabbi Mayer Relles, born on June 2, 1908 in Skala, Poland (now Skalat, Ukraine), describes his family and childhood; living in Italy from 1933 to 1944; studying at a university and a rabbinical college in Rome; managing to remain in Italy as a student; Mussolini’s treatment of Jews and his changing attitude towards Hitler; the anti-Jewish laws established in 1938; his arrest and brief internment in June 1940 first in Campagna then in Ferramonti; being treated extremely well by the Italians; trying to flee in December 1943 after police warned Jews they would be arrested; being arrested near the Swiss border and detained by the police in Como then at a barracks in Camerlata in Northern Italy; his escape to Milan; staying at various safe houses and living in a rest home under a false name; using papers that gave him a new identity; receiving help by individual Italians, nuns, and a committee that worked to rescue Jews; how he survived and details on his escape to Switzerland in April 1944, during which he was part of a group rescue organized by a Mrs. Comelli; the many instances of help from non-Jews and the kind treatment from Italians during this period; and arriving in the United States from Switzerland on November 8, 1951.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Relles, Mayer
interview:  1983 June 27
2 sound cassettes (60 min.).
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Gratz College Holocaust Oral History Archive
Record last modified: 2022-06-16 14:26:22
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