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Oral history interview with Wolf Gaister

Oral History | Accession Number: 2016.362.5 | RG Number: RG-50.922.0005

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.

Wolf Gaister (né Velvel Geister), born February 14, 1926 in Belzyce, Poland, discusses his prewar family life in Belzyce; attending an integrated public school with Jews and Christians; the end of his schooling upon Germany’s invasion of Poland; the establishment of the Jewish committee in Belzyce; the establishment of the labor camp and ghetto; the liquidation of the ghetto in 1943; being lined up along with family members and neighbors outside a shul (synagogue); the selection of people to live or die; witnessing the massacre of the selected people, including his mother and three of his sisters; being relocated along with his father and surviving sister to the Budzyn labor camp; the escape of a prisoner from Budzyn; the shooting of ten men, including his father, as a reprisal for the escape; his sister's transfer to a work camp in the town of Krasnik where she worked as a seamstress until the end of the war; remaining in Budzyn where he and other Jewish men worked on digging an escape tunnel; halting their work after a rabbi threatened to expose them since many innocent men would be killed in retaliation for the escape; being relocated to work at an underground factory in the Wieliczka salt mine where he removed parts from downed planes; his transfer to Flossenburg concentration camp, where, because of his small hands, he was again assigned to remove parts from damaged planes; French and Czech Kapos who treated him well; being loaded onto a train during the liquidation of the camp close to the end of the war; Allied attacks on the trains; how the German soldiers abandoned the trains since they were Allied targets and forced the prisoners to march, shooting anyone who slowed down; marching for three days until they came into the path of American tanks; his liberation by American forces a week before the end of the war; getting married in Austria to Sara Stengel and immigrating to the United States in 1950; and raising three children in the US.

Interviewee
Wolf Gaister
Interviewer
Dr. Robert M. Shapiro
Date
1983 October 05  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
1 sound cassette.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Robert Moses Shapiro
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:40:20
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn551136