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Oral history interview with Kurt Herdan

Oral History | Accession Number: 2013.294.37 | RG Number: RG-50.693.0037

Kurt Herdan, born in Austria in 1926, describes living in Czernowitz, Romania (Chernivtsi, Ukraine); his family and speaking German at home; how the dynamics with his friends changed after 1936; living under Hitler and Stalin regimes; attending a half German and half Rumanian school around age 13; the Russian invasion on June 28, 1940; suffering more under the Soviets than under the Nazis; being moved to the ghetto on October 10, 1941; being transported to Transnistria; his father bribing the mayor of the city to allow them to return home; how from July 1941 until May 1942 the young people had to go to work in the city, mainly restoring the bridge over the river Pruth (Prut) River, which had been bombed; the deportation of young people to work camps in Romania until 1944; his jobs in labor camps and finding humor in the camps; being not very religious but being allowed to observe Kol Nidre in a labor camp in 1943; being one of 500 men accused of sabotage on February 14, 1943 and being saved from execution because of a difference of opinion between the Rumanian and the German commandos; being liberated; going to Bucharest, Romania; being taken care for several days by a Nazi opera singer; enrolling in the fine arts school in Bucharest; his various jobs; living under the communists from 1944 to 1950; immigrating to Israel; being involved in the opening of the road to Eilat; joining his parents in Chile in 1953; exhibiting his art in Germany in 1989 and refusing to tell the Germans about his life during the war; including a window in each of his paintings to represent the two years he lived without one during the war; and including the German word for “now what” in his art.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Herdan, Kurt
Stutman, Andrea
interview:  2009 November 17
1 digital file : MOV.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Fundación Memoria Viva
Record last modified: 2022-06-16 10:13:19
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