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Oral history interview with Samuel Schleider

Oral History | Accession Number: 2018.157.1 | RG Number: RG-50.030.0970

Sam Schleider (né Zigo Bernstein), born in 1937 in Stanislaw, Poland (now Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine), discusses his father, who owned a scrap iron business; not remembering any of his early childhood before the war; his earliest memory, which was when all the Jews were marched in the middle of the night into the ghetto; his father being permitted to continue working outside the ghetto; life in the ghetto; the roundups and deportations; hiding in in the wall of their apartment during the roundups; the death of one of his friends during a roundup; an Aktion that took place on August 22, 1942 and seeing murdered Jewish policemen strung up on lamp polls; escaping from the ghetto with his mother; his father organizing the escapes of many other Jews from the ghetto and hiding them in the sub-basement of a Christian Polish woman’s home; their interactions with the Polish woman hiding them (she was denounced as a collaborator by the Russians after liberation); hiding for 15-18 months; being liberated in the summer of 1944 by the Russians; his father’s death before liberation when he was denounced by a Polish man; going to Kraków, Poland with his mother; his mother remarrying a man named Markus Schleider; going with his family to Prague, Czech Republic and then Bologna, Italy with the intention of going to Palestine; settling in Florence, Italy (1946-1949); the birth of his sister; noticing the effect that the Holocaust had on his parents; enjoying his life in Florence; attending their synagogue’s school; not experiencing antisemitism in Italy; immigrating to the United States; living in the Lower East Side of Manhattan; attending a Yeshiva; the difficulty of assimilating to American society; speaking Italian and Yiddish at the Yeshiva; going into business with his father in 1959 and receiving reparations from Germany; starting a business; donating to the Israeli cause; meeting his wife at a YMCA camp; his work with survivors in South Florida; speaking at schools about the Holocaust; his wood inlay work; his thoughts on Poland’s new policy on terminology associated with concentration camps; attending the March of the Living in Poland in 2017; and his belief that the world will be a better place in the future.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Samuel Schleider
Olivia Rosen
interview:  2018 March 21
creation: Delray Beach (Fla.)
1 sound recording.