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Oral history interview with Tatiana Benharbone

Oral History | Accession Number: 1999.A.0122.967 | RG Number: RG-50.477.0967

In this interview, Ms. Benharbone describes her young childhood in Poland, her memories of the invasion of Poland, and being hidden during the war years. She also describes her post-war experiences in an orphange run by Lena Kuchler-Silberman (famous for her efforts to provide new homes for orphans in Israel), her adoption by an American family, and subsequent disruptions during her childhood and adolescence - leaving the adoptive family, living in an orphanage, living with the psychologist Beatriz Carter, and finally with another adoptive family. Ms. Benharbone discusses her adult experiences of moving to Israel with her husband and children, and reuniting with orphans from the Lena Kuchler-Silberman orphange.

Tatiana Benharbone was born in Warsaw, Poland on November 30, 1937. After the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany in September 1939, Ms. Benharbone was taken by her grandmother to a Catholic family, who hid her during the years of World War II. After the war she was told that she was Jewish and was forced to leave the family.

Ms. Benharbone was sent to an orphanage run by Lena Kuchler, a Polish nurse who had survived the war. She established an orphange for Jewish children in Poland. She recounted her experiences in a later book, My Hundred Children. Because of continuing antisemitism, Ms. Kuchler decided to find homes for the children in Israel. Prior to emigration, she went with the children to France, where they learned Hebrew and French, so they could live in Israel.

With exception of Ms. Benharbone and another boy, all the children moved to Israel. Ms. Benharbone was adopted by an American family and went to live in Kentucky. The adoption failed, and she returned to a Jewish orphange in the United States, then was placed for four years with two other traumatized Jewish children in the home of Beatriz Carter, a psychologist. She returned to her adoptive family, then left home to marry at age 18. She, her husband and two children moved to Israel. Years later, Ms. Benharbone reunited with Lena Kuchler-Silberman and other orphans she grew up with in Lena’s orphanage.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Tatiana Benharbone
Michael Oliver
interview:  1991 August 27
Oral histories.
1 videocassette (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 09:53:12
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