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Oral history interview with Stephen Akerman

Oral History | Accession Number: 2018.21.1 | RG Number: RG-50.046.0001

Stephen Akerman, born June 1, 1919 in Turi Paseka, Czechoslovakia (now Tur’ia Pasivka, Ukraine), describes his schooling in Uzhhorod, Czechoslovakia (now in Ukraine); the limits placed on the number of Jews admitted to universities in 1938; attending a university in Brno, studying engineering agronomy, from October 1938 until March 1939; being forcibly thrown from the building by Nazi students on the day Hitler visited the city; returning home and finding that his town was occupied by the Hungarian army; not being allowed to work; moving to Budapest, Hungary in 1940; working for a Jewish firm as an assistant in a plumbing installation; the anti-Jewish laws passed in Hungary; being taken into a forced labor company in July 1942 and sent with 200 men to Zhlobin, Belarus near the eastern front; doing menial labor for the Germans, digging trenches and felling trees; being with the work company for two and a half years; being forced to march through mine-laced areas; the horrible conditions he faced during this time; being beaten occasionally by the commander of the work company; how in November 1944 his company was turned over to the German SS by the Hungarian army; being sent in cattle cars from Kielce, Poland to Flossenbürg concentration camp; being forced to remain naked for two weeks; conditions in the camp, including the sleeping quarters and day-to-day life; the hanging of some Russian prisoners; his will to survive; working in a nearby quarry; volunteering to go to Niederoderwitz; working the night shift with the electric ovens, extruding long cables from metal rods; life in the camp; being escorted to and from work through the city and being mistreated by the German commander in front of the civilian onlookers; being able to maintain some level of cleanliness; being forced to evacuate in March 1945; being taken partially by train and then by foot to Litomerice concentration camp; working in construction; contracting typhoid dysentery in April 1945; being placed in the camp hospital; the liquidation of the hospital at the end of April and being loaded onto a cattle car, where they remained for three days before walking to Theresienstadt; being liberated by the Russian army in May 1945; spending a week in a Russian field hospital; going to Prague for three weeks; returning home and finding out that his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins (45 family members) perished in Auschwitz; his four sisters’ return from Auschwitz; the looting and destruction of their home; going with his sisters to the US Zone of Germany, where they lived in a displaced persons camp; and immigrating to the US in 1947.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Akerman, Mr. Stephen
3 DVDs.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Jane Akerman
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 19:51:57
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