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Oral history interview with Willy Manela

Oral History | Accession Number: 2019.253.991 | RG Number: RG-90.063.0991

Willy Manela, born June 10, 1925 in Kielce, Poland, discusses his parents; his three siblings; extended family; the German occupation of Kielce and co-opting homes and neighborhoods, instituting prohibitions on Jewish activities, and detaining residents for forced labor; the establishment of a fenced ghetto; being tasked with unloading bags of cement at a building supply warehouse; sharing the responsibility for the family with his brothers Marc and Motek; being rounded up with ghetto residents at the railroad; being separated from Motek, his mother, and his sister, who were sent to Treblinka; being sent to Schwarzburg ghetto; bunking with his Kielce friend Barnard Shulman; working in lumberyard while his brother Marc worked in a munitions factory in Pionki; being transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau in late 1944; being tattooed and assigned to Block 23; being taken within the week to Pszczyna to perform munitions-related work; being marched on the night of January 17, 1945 in a group on foot to an encampment at Auschwitz outskirts, from which several prisoners escaped; being made to walk to Flossenburg camp; being housed in Barrack 37 with his Kielce friends Warshovsky Bernigola and (Sevig) Rubin; being transported on April 18 with Sevig Rubin to another camp; evacuating from the camp on foot; encountering the US Army on April 23, 1945; finding other liberated Kielce friends and walking and hitching to Passau, Germany; going to Bergen-Belsen, where he and Rubin found their respective brothers; traveling in a group without papers on foot from Poland back to Germany via Czechoslovakia, where they were caught, arrested, jailed, and ultimately released; returning to Passau; reuniting with his brother and uncle in Liege, Belgium; joining the Zionist movement; immigrating to Israel and living in Tel Aviv until 1952, when he joined brother Marc in Patterson, NJ; learning the electrician’s trade; getting married to Cecile Klajman; moving to Fairlawn, NJ; his two daughters and one son; his volunteer work; and his participation in the Kielce Society, the Landsmannschaft, and the East Side Social Center survivors groups.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Willy Manela
Brad Zarlin
8 sound recordings : MP3.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Brad Zarlin