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Oral history interview with Guenter Lewy

Oral History | Accession Number: 2013.56.1 | RG Number: RG-50.106.0204

Guenter Lewy, born August 22, 1923 in Breslau, Germany (Wrocław, Poland), discusses his childhood in a large extended assimilated family; his memory of seeing Hitler at the 1936 Olympics; belonging to a Jewish Zionist youth group; being attacked on a hiking trip by German storm troopers; his father’s three month imprisonment in Buchenwald after Kristallnacht; going with Youth Aliyah via Trieste to Palestine in March 1939; being met in Haifa by his uncle; living on Kibbutz Tzarad where he worked as a shepherd; his parents’ escape to the United States in late 1941; volunteering in early 1942 for the Palestine Regiment of the British Army; joining the Jewish Brigade and being stationed in Egypt; traveling to Italy with Montgomery's 8th Army in late 1944; traveling to Holland at the war’s end; his role in organizing illegal immigration to Palestine; interrogating German civilians in Berlin; returning to Palestine; traveling to the United States to see his parents in late 1946; graduating from college in 1951 and earning a Master's and Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1957; teaching at Columbia, Smith College, and University of Massachusetts; teaching in Germany from 1961 to 1962; his feelings about German people today; the strong influence of his youth group on his resilience; his writings on the moral dimensions of history and the Nazi persecution of the Romani peoples; his current interest in writing about Holocaust perpetrators; reoccurring dreams about Nazis brutality; and feeling that some of the best Holocaust scholarship has being written by contemporary young German scholars.


Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Interviewee
Guenter Lewy
Interviewer
Gail Schwartz
Date
interview:  2013 March 18
Language
English
Extent
2 digital files : WAV.