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Oral history interview with Hannah Kushynski

Oral History | Accession Number: 2016.272.1 | RG Number: RG-50.030.0893

Hannah Kushynski, born on December 22, 1924 in Częstochowa, Poland, discusses her hometown of Częstochowa; her parents and brother; learning English at school; the religious views of her grandmother and parents; her family’s apartment above her father’s bicycle and motorcycle shop; not experiencing antisemitism before the war; her love of ice skating; attending a private school; picketers in front of her father’s shop protesting Jewish-owned stores; an aunt and cousin’s immigration to Israel in 1935; encountering her uncle in Los Angeles, CA after the war; watching German soldiers march into Częstochowa in September 1939; the confiscation of jewelry; ghettoization; her father’s request that a non-Jewish friend take the belongings in his store and apartment for safekeeping; the selection in Częstochowa and being separated from her mother, brother, and grandmother; being transferred from the Częstochowa Ghetto to the HASAG labor camp with her father; the consequence of arriving late to work; the conditions in the factory and barracks; being discovered while crocheting one night; her various jobs at HASAG; standing water and chemicals at her work station; occasionally being able to see her father and boyfriend, later her husband; her boyfriend’s attempt to have her moved to a different job and the resulting beating she received from a German guard; her boyfriend’s plan to escape the labor camp, which involved hiding in a horse stable; her father’s death on a death march; liberation by the Soviet army in January 1945; receiving family photos from her former nanny, who had kept them safe during the war; marrying her boyfriend; attempting to reclaim her family’s possessions from her father’s friend; leaving Poland and trekking through Czechoslovakia, Austria, and Hungary before arriving in Belgium; living in Brussels for five years; the fates of her mother, brother, and grandmother in Treblinka; learning Yiddish from her husband; receiving affidavits to go to the United States; settling in Long Beach, California and the hard transition to life in America; the difficulty involved in telling her children about her experiences; and her membership in survivor groups.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Hannah Kushynski
Katherine Saint John
interview:  2016 August 23
creation: Los Angeles (Calif.)
1 digital file : MPEG-4.
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:54:07
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