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Oral history interview with Harry Kamel

Oral History | Accession Number: 2015.479.1 | RG Number: RG-50.030.0862

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

Harry Kamel (né Chaim Kamelmacher), born on July 1, 1925 in Rozyszcze, Poland (now Rozhyshche, Ukraine), describes moving with his family to Maniewicze, Poland (now Prylisne, Ukraine) when he was four years old; his four siblings, Simcha Wolf, Hannah, Motel, and Mendel; his father who was a tailor; the lack of electricity in the village; attending public school in the morning and cheder (Hebrew school) in the afternoon; having access to the Polish newspaper and the four Jewish newspapers that arrived at the railroad daily from Warsaw; his family’s celebration of religious holidays; completing school after the 7th grade since there were no high schools in Maniewicze; his job making caps; the beginning of the war and the incorporation of Maniewicze into Ukraine; being able to attend high school; the shortages and rations; the antisemitism in Maniewicze; the robbing of Jewish homes during the four days after the Soviets left and before the Germans arrived in 1941; escaping east the day before the Germans arrived; the Ukrainian policemen recruited by the Germans; the bombings; the mobilization of his brother into Red Army and never seeing him again; the formation of a Jewish ghetto a few months after the German occupation; his father, who was sent to do forced labor while the rest of the family was sent to live in the ghetto; not knowing what happened to his twin brothers (Motel and Mendel); the massacre in 1942 of 4,000 Jews, including his mother, sister, and niece; going by train to Stalingrad and then to a collective farm with six friends; escaping to Tashkent with one of his friends; working on a cotton farm for two years; having his belongings stolen from him; working a labor-intensive job; losing his bread ration card after two months; being imprisoned; being released and given a job as a shoemaker; being mobilized into the Red Army; traveling for six weeks by train and disembarking in Rozyszcze; helping to liberate towns as part of the 370th Infantry Division 1,232 Brigade; injuring his right leg and being hospitalized for six months; finding out about the fates of his family members; joining a kibbutz and going to Ebensee, Austria; living in displaced persons camps in Germany and learning about electronics through ORT classes; being sponsored for a visa by his uncle in Kansas City; meeting his future wife, Trudy, in New York and getting married in 1954; his four children; and his visit to Ukraine in 2013.

Interviewee
Mr. Harry Kamel
Interviewer
Ina Navazelskis
Date
2015 December 17  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
1 digital file : MPEG-4.
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Record last modified: 2018-11-07 13:55:34
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn531228