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Oral history interview with David Baruch

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

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.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Mr. David Baruch
Gail Schwartz
interview:  2015 September 18
2 digital files : WAV.
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:39:30
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