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Oral history interview with Irena Veisaite

Oral History | Accession Number: 2004.738 | RG Number: RG-50.030.0505

Irena Veisaite, born on January 9, 1928 in Kaunas, Lithuania, describes her family; the divorce of her parents in 1938 and staying with her mother in Kaunas, where she attended a Yiddish school; not experiencing much antisemitism before the war; traveling to Berlin in 1938 to be with her father and returning to Kaunas in 1939; her plans to flee to Helsinki that failed because her flight was scheduled to leave on the day that the war started in Poland; staying in Kaunas with her mother and going under the control of Soviet forces; losing her home; the German invasion on June 22, 1941; her mother’s arrest and murder; going to live with her aunt, who was her only surviving family member after several brutal massacres in her town; the negative Jewish stereotypes that arose in Lithuania because of Nazi propaganda; moving into the ghetto with her aunt in late 1941; the assistance that Lithuanians gave the Nazis in maintaining the ghetto; having to do forced labor until she became sick with dystrophy and had to stay home for six weeks; the organization of cultural activities, like orchestra performances, in the ghetto; escaping from the ghetto and going into hiding with families and in a children’s home in Vilnius; her experiences with other people who have survived the camps or who went into hiding; and Lithuania’s role in the Holocaust.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Irena Veisaite
Nathan Beyrak
interview:  2004 September 07
Oral histories.
4 videocassettes (DVCAM) : sound, color ; 1/4 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, courtesy of the Jeff and Toby Herr Foundation
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:53:28
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