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Oral history interview with David Baruch

Oral History | Accession Number: 2015.297.1 | RG Number: RG-50.106.0248

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

David Baruch (born in Patras, Greece on April 27, 1932) discusses his childhood; his older brother Isaac and younger sister Ostrula; his parents Rochelle, who died young, and Sabatai, who was friendly with their Greek Orthodox neighbors; how he and Isaac were the only two Jewish students in school; experiencing antisemitism on holidays when Jewish stores were closed; leading a comfortable, secure life; first hearing about Hitler when Germany invaded Greece in 1941 and seeing a parade of heavy artillery in the main square of Patras with tanks directed towards pedestrians; attending a synagogue meeting at age nine and hearing that Germans wanted to transport Jews to camps to be killed; his father getting fake IDs (David’s new name was George Varuchos); keeping up close relations with Christian neighbors; curtailing their outside activities since the Germans would stop people on streets and would leave their bodies hanging on a tree in the public square; the politeness of the Italian soldiers; hearing that Jews were being taken from Salonica to Auschwitz; being warned to leave two days before Rosh Hashanah in the summer of 1943; spending one night in the basement of a friend’s house; walking 50 kilometers to Vrachni; living in a hut and his grandmother cooking on bricks; German soldiers passing by their hut, which was concealed by branches and trees; how the president and priest of the village brought them food and they stayed in the hut for 13 months; his father forbidding David and Isaac to join the partisans; hearing that Greece was liberated in the fall of 1944 but staying one more week in the hut to make sure; returning to Patras and finding their house terribly damaged; attending synagogue services; seeing Isaac Matzas, the head of the Jewish community; his father and uncle opening a textile business; being welcomed back by teachers and students at school, except for one teacher who yelled antisemitic remarks and was dismissed along with the principal; attending high school and being in the Greek Army for 19 months; going to the United States on June 11, 1956; working 18 hour days as a shipping clerk; becoming a buyer, getting an accounting job, and retiring in 2008; losing his childhood but gaining strength and courage; and refusing to go to Germany because of what Hitler did, which is engraved in his heart forever.

Interviewee
Mr. David Baruch
Interviewer
Gail Schwartz
Date
2015 September 18  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
2 digital files : WAV.
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 11:11:00
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn607778