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Oral history interview with Bernard Gola

Oral History | Accession Number: 2017.152.1 | RG Number: RG-50.030.0912

Bernard Gola (born Berel Gola, 1926-2019) was born on November 2, 1926 in Kielce, Poland. He had a younger brother, Schmul (b. 1928). He discusses his father owning a factory that manufactured cheap men’s clothes, and dying when he was three; his mother taking over running the factory; his aunt helping take care of him; living with his grandmother in the back of the store; attending public school; attending religious services with his grandfather, and belonging to two Zionist youth groups; reading about Hitler in Jewish and Polish newspapers; his uncle getting arrested by the Gestapo in 1938, and his grandfather securing his release in Warsaw; his uncle going to England where he was placed in a detention camp as an enemy alien; Kielce being bombed three days after Germany invaded Poland; working as forced-laborer for the Germans cleaning barracks and working on the railroad; selling cigarettes and other items on the black market; his mother and brother getting arrested and subsequently released by the Jewish police; hiding at his uncle’s farm when he heard the Germans were arresting young men; he and his brother getting typhus; getting deported to Treblinka; working as a forced-laborer; getting sent to Auschwitz II-Birkenau in June 1944, where he was tattooed with prisoner number B3073; getting sent to Auschwitz III (Monowitz) where he was a forced-laborer at the I.G. Farben plant; getting forced on a death march to a Messerschmitt factory in Berlin in December 1944, and then to Flossenbürg; he was liberated three days later by the United States Army; living in several displaced persons camps in Germany; selling cigarettes with a partner in Zeilsheim; immigrating to the United States with help from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee; living with aunt and uncle in Brooklyn; working in the garment industry and then as a waiter in the Catskills; opening a retail business; and getting married in 1954.


Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Interviewee
Bernard Gola
Interviewer
Ina Navazelskis
Date
interview:  2017 February 20
Geography
creation: Highland Beach (Fla.)
Language
English
Genre/Form
Oral histories.
Extent
1 digital file : MPEG-4.
 
Record last modified: 2022-01-04 13:42:01
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn559269