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Oral history interview with Mr. Bunzel and Mrs. Bunzel

Oral History | Accession Number: 2014.537.3 | RG Number: RG-50.862.0002

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

In part one of the interview an unnamed man and a woman, both survivors from the Czech Republic (possibly Mr. and Mrs. Rudolf Bunzel), discuss Theresienstadt and their interactions with Murmelstein and Eckstein; and Adolf Eichmann.
In part two of the interview an unnamed man and later an unnamed woman (possibly Mr. and Mrs. Rudolf Bunzl) discusses arriving in the United States in 1954 after living in Vienna, Austria from 1949 to 1954; originating in Prague; and being deported and incarcerated in Theresienstadt.
In part three of the interview Rudolf Bunzel (note that H.G. Adler's authoritative book on Theresienstadt lists him as "Bunzl"), a survivor and former Jewish official at Theresienstadt, discusses his associations with the literary circle of Kafka; his friendships with Max Brod and Franz Kafka, whom he met during the period of World War I; his life during the Holocaust and his relationship to the Jewish community in Prague; how he agreed to be transported to Theresienstadt as the designated head of the economic department ("Wirtschaftsabteilung") but how he was appointed instead as the head of the finance department ("Finanzabteilung") in Theresienstadt; how all the departments, with exception of the technical department, were a "bluff”; life during the post-war period in Vienna; the many former Nazis in post-war Vienna; anti-Nazi jokes told by Fritz Gruenbaum and Karl Farkas; his internment and the administrative organization of Theresienstadt; the names of department leaders; the inventing of work in order to protect inmates from deportation; various types of "Schutzlisten" (protective lists); being appointed head of the transport department and resigning as soon as the deportations started; daily work of the financial department; creating ghetto currency; the model ghetto charade for the Red Cross visit; discouraging Desider Friedmann from applying to head the bank; former banking officials at Theresienstadt who he tried to protect; financial matters at Theresienstadt and his interactions with Murmelstein; discrepancies in the finances; visiting the Nazi commandant Karl Rahm along with Murmelstein; becoming a close confidant of Murmelstein; the two visits to Theresienstadt by the Red Cross and the translator during both visits, a Mr. Guralek [?], who survived and ended up marrying Murmelstein's secretary; how positions in the Jewish administration were filled; the prominent Czech Jew Dr. Josef Beck who became keeper of the protective list of Czech Jews until he was denounced and deported; the Nazi commission which decided who would be deported; 200 Theresienstadt male ghetto inmates being commanded to remove the rubble from Lidice and were deported afterwards; the three commandants; his thoughts on Sudeten Germans; and Greta Polatschek.

Interviewee
Rudolf Bunzel
Mrs. Bunzel
Interviewer
Dr. Edith Ehrlich
Dr. Leonard H. Ehrlich
Date
1978 October  (interview)
Genre/Form
Interviews.
Extent
7 sound cassettes : analog..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Carl S. Ehrlich
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Record last modified: 2018-04-17 13:05:20
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn607578