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Oral history interview with Arie Letzter

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

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.


Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Interviewee
Arie Letzter
Interviewer
Ina Navazelskis
Date
interview:  2016 May 22
Geography
creation: New York (N.Y.)
Language
English
Extent
1 digital file : MPEG-4.