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Oral history interview with David Wolnerman

Oral History | Accession Number: 2016.107.1 | RG Number: RG-50.030.0876

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

David Wolnerman, born on May 9, 1927 in a small town in southwestern Poland, discusses his family, including his older brother Abraham and his two older sisters Gertrude and Bluma; growing up poor and living in his grandfather’s apartment house with other relatives; living without electricity and buying water by the bucket; his older sister and brother working in a print shop; non-Jews working in the town’s coal mine; his father who had asthma and died at age 47 in 1939, six months before the German invasion; the beginning of the war on September 1, 1939; fleeing with his family to a nearby town and returning soon after; Bluma and Abraham being sent to a work camp; being sent to a camp at age 13 and being made to do manual labor since he was unskilled; lying about his age in Auschwitz; sometimes working near the ovens in Auschwitz; going to a camp near Breslau (Wroclaw, Poland) after six months; seeing prisoners being hanged and other atrocities in the camps; the death of his mother in Auschwitz; being sent to Oberammergau, Germany and then to Theresienstadt; being on a work detail to clean Warsaw after the bombings in 1943; contracting typhus and recovering before being sent back to Auschwitz; being sent to Dachau; being liberated by American troops; learning that Abraham and Gertrude died in the camps; getting sick after liberation from eating American Army food; being nursed back to health by nuns; a chai necklace that a Jewish army captain gave him 70 years ago; living in an apartment in Germany for four years; meeting his future wife Jennie in Feldafing displaced persons camp; finding Bluma a year after liberation in a DP camp; getting married in 1949; waiting five years to immigrate to the US because he could not find any relatives to sponsor him; learning the printing trade at a friend’s company in Cleveland, OH; his two children; the recent death of his wife; speaking to school children about his experiences; and writing a book about his experiences.

Interviewee
David Wolnerman
Interviewer
Ina Navazelskis
Date
2016 May 09  (interview)
Geography
creation : Washington (D.C.)
Language
English
Extent
1 digital file : MPEG-4.