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Oral history interview with Esther Peterseil

Oral History | Digitized | Accession Number: 2011.177.32 | RG Number: RG-50.677.0032

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    Oral history interview with Esther Peterseil


    Interview Summary
    Esther (Himmelfarb) Peterseil, born December 23, 1924 in Będzin, Poland, discusses her Orthodox family; being one of nine children; her grandfather who built the first brewery in Poland; pre-war Będzin, including the coal mines, Christian Poles, Jewish life, public school, and vacations; the Nazi invasion in 1939; the synagogue burning with people in it on September 8, 1939; Jews being shot on the street; the curfew for Jews; Jews having to give up their businesses; the capture of her brother and sister, whom she never saw again; her parents being taken and her father escaping capture; wearing a yellow star armband; negotiating to bring her mother home; hiding with her family for two years in a tunnel that extended to the next door building; being discovered and sent to the town’s ghetto; doing forced sweatshop labor, making Nazi soldier uniforms; the liquidation of the ghetto and being sent with her family to Auschwitz in 1943; the journey in the cattle car; being separated from her 49-year-old mother; staying with her sister; the shaving of their heads; being quarantined in a large room for several days; conditions in the barracks; the early morning selections; meeting her brother at the barbed wire and sharing bread with him; being assaulted for begging for the guards to spare her sister and Auschwitz Commandant Höss allowing her sister to be removed from the list after a display of willpower and bravery from Esther; marching to Birkenau; living in Barrack 27 for two years; being sent on a death march to Ravensbrück; experiencing frostbite; being forced to dig ditches used to hide the dead; life after the war; finding her brother in Będzin; and her sister’s death in a displaced persons camp.
    Esther Peterseil
    Dr. Henri Lustiger Thaler
    interview:  2017 June 20
    Credit Line
    This testimony was recorded through a joint project of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Amud Aish Memorial Museum Kleinman Family Holocaust Education Center.

    Physical Details

    2 digital files : MPEG-4.

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    Administrative Notes

    The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, in partnership with the Amud Aish Memorial Museum's Kleinman Family Holocaust Education Center, produced the interview with Esther Peterseil on June 20, 2017.
    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 09:26:23
    This page:

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