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Oral history interview with Estelle Laughlin

Oral History | RG Number: RG-50.999.0577

Estelle Laughlin (née Wakszlak), born on July 9, 1929 in Warsaw, Poland, discusses her parents Michla and Samek; her older sister Freda (born January 1928); the jewelry shop her father operated; attending a local public school; the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, and the siege on Warsaw beginning one week later; the German occupation and not being allowed to attend school; the establishment of a ghetto in October 1940 and being forced with other Jews to live in the ghetto; the conditions in the ghetto; the massive deportations of Jews to Treblinka from July to September 1942; hiding in a secret room with her family during the deportations; her father’s efforts in the resistance movement; the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in the spring of 1943 and hiding in a bunker with her family; being discovered in the bunker and the deportation of her family to Majdanek; being selected for forced labor along with her mother and sister; her father’s death in the gas chamber; her sister being badly beaten and placed on a list that she and her mother thought was a gas chamber list; their decision to switch places with two other women so they could be on the same list with Freda; being sent together to Skarzysko concentration camp to work in a munitions factory and later to camp Czestochowa; being liberation by Soviet forces from Czestochowa in January 1945; moving with her mother and sister to Bavaria, Germany in August 1945 and living there until 1947; immigrating as a family to the United States; and joining two of Estelle’s aunts and an uncle in New York City.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Estelle Laughlin
interview:  2016 July 21
creation: Washington (D.C.)
1 digital file : MOV.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
Record last modified: 2023-11-16 09:44:11
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