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Oral history interview with Magda Herskowitz

Oral History | Digitized | Accession Number: 2016.230.1 | RG Number: RG-50.940.0001

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    Oral history interview with Magda Herskowitz


    Interview Summary
    Madga Herskowitz (née Berkovitz), born on June 18, 1924 in Dobricel, Transylvania, describes being one of seven children; her four brothers (Mendel, Moyshe, Mayer, and Tzalel) and her two sisters (Esther-Bayle and Cipe); the death of her father (Herman Berkovitz) when she was one and a half years old; her mother, Chana, and their family store, land, and mill; the beginning of the war; being taken to the ghetto in Dej, where they stayed for four weeks before being sent to Auschwitz; the journey to Auschwitz and being separated from her mother when she arrived in the camp; never seeing her mother again; going to the showers and having her hair shaved; their camp clothes; the toilets in the camp; living with 500 other women; finding out her mother had been killed; doing forced labor; rations and daily life in the camp; roll calls; going to work when she was sick; being beaten; witnessing the murder of her friend; no longer menstruating; her friend who gave birth in Auschwitz and the death of the infant after eight days from exposure; going through a selection and being sent to Riga, Latvia; being forced to load ships with ammunition; being beaten for dropping a box; suffering from hunger and frost bite; being liberated by the Russian Army; being mocked by the Russians; walking home for three weeks with ten other women; reuniting with her brother Tzalel; getting married to Moshe Herskowitz and settling in Retiav (possibly Reteag, Romania); giving birth to her first daughter (Chana); living in a displaced persons camp in Germany for one year; immigrating to Israel, where they lived in barracks; her husband’s service in the army, after which he become a policeman; having another daughter (Penina); moving to Yad Natan; Chana marrying an American; going to Canada for two and a half years; moving to the US; working in a senior citizens’ home; and her grandchildren.
    Magda Herskowitz
    interview:  1994 January 22
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Robert Fried

    Physical Details

    Yiddish English
    2 digital files : MP3.

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    Restrictions on use. Restrictions may exist. Contact the Museum for further information:

    Keywords & Subjects

    Topical Term
    Amenorrhea. Antisemitism--Romania. Childbirth. Concentration camp inmates--Selection process. Forced labor. Forced standing. Frostbite. Head shaving--Poland--Oswiecim. Holocaust survivors--Israel. Holocaust survivors--United States. Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Romania--Personal narratives. Jewish families--Romania--Transylvania. Jewish ghettos--Romania--Dej. Jewish women in the Holocaust. Jews--Identity. Jews--Persecutions--Romania. Jews--Romania--Transylvania. Refugee camps--Germany. Roll calls. Women concentration camp inmates. World War, 1939-1945--Concentration camps--Latvia--Riga. World War, 1939-1945--Concentration camps--Liberation. World War, 1939-1945--Conscript labor. World War, 1939-1945--Deportations from Romania. World War, 1939-1945--Refugees. Women--Personal narratives.
    Personal Name
    Herskowitz, Magda, 1924-

    Administrative Notes

    Robert Fried donated the oral history interview with Magda Herskowitz to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in July 2016. The interview was conducted in Yiddish on January 22, 1994, and the record includes an English translation of the interview, which was recorded in 2016.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this oral history interview has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2023-11-16 09:37:31
    This page:

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