Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research

Login

Register

Help

Skip to main content

Oral history interview with Arie Letzter

Oral History | Accession Number: 2016.105.1 | RG Number: RG-50.030.0879

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

Arie Letzter (né Leib Letzter), born on May 18, 1925 in Kolbuszowa, Poland, describes his family; his two older brothers (Wolf and Hirsh), his older sister (Gittel), and his youngest sister (Mindel, born in 1929); speaking Yiddish at home and learning Polish at his Polish school; helping with the merchandise for his father’s business; the meeting his family had when the war started and deciding that the women and younger children would remain at home and the men and older children would leave; going with his father, two brothers, and two uncles to the Romanian border with a borrowed wagon and two horses from the Graf (Noble head of their area); German planes bombing them along the way; their wagon breaking down near the Russian-controlled border; registering with the Russians and going to Lvov (L’viv, Ukraine) for 10 months before returning home; being picked up by the Russians and placed in trains; one of his uncles killing himself by jumping off the train; being on the train for seven weeks and arriving in Siberia in October 1940; being deep in the woods in Sevenykachuk (phonetically spelled); their work cutting down the trees; the Soviets entering the war in June 1941 and being free to leave; going on a train to Uzbekistan and stopping in Jizzax; going to a hospital to find treatment for Wolf who had gangrene in his foot and Wolf’s death a few days later; working with his father in cotton fields and doing some construction work on the highway; his father’s death; entering a hospital for a few months to have his gangrenous foot treated; the death of his brother Hirsh; being alone at age 16; working as a guard and trading on the black market to support himself; the typhus epidemic and having to go to the hospital again; surviving with the help of friendly Muslims and a female physician; the end of the war in May 1945; being allowed to go to Poland in April 1946; reaching Krakow and learning that due to the Pogroms it would be dangerous for him to go home ( he did not return to his home until 2004); learning that his family was gassed at Belzec in early 1942; going to a DP Camp in Milan, Italy, and working in the furrier business before going to his relatives in the US in January 1950; continuing in the furrier business; getting married to Sylvia Lederberger in 1952; his children; and losing faith after learning about the genocide he lost faith, but later deciding to enroll his children in Yeshiva.

Interviewee
Arie Letzter
Interviewer
Ina Navazelskis
Date
2016 May 22  (interview)
Geography
creation : New York (N.Y.)
Language
English
Extent
1 digital file : MPEG-4.