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Oral history interview with Johanna Krawczyk

Oral History | Accession Number: 2013.294.52 | RG Number: RG-50.693.0052

Johanna Krawczyk (née Tukhshnyder), born in Russia in 1941, describes her parents, who escaped to Russia from Poland as Jewish refugees during the war; how her parents were sent to Siberia, but escaped in 1939 and were liberated from Siberia in 1940; her parents moving to Central Russia; returning to Poland in 1945; her parents having progressive ideas and belonged to the BUND; how the reality of Russia did not coalesce with their ideals; never living as a Jewish family; how between the ages of 4 and 8 she heard and understood the Yiddish language, in which her parents would discuss the fate of their close relatives; her maternal grandparents surviving; her father’s family being thrown from a balcony in Chelm; how Chelm’s streets had been paved by the tombstones of the Jewish cemetery; the murder of all of her paternal cousins in concentration camps; how before the war two uncles left for Palestine and an aunt went to South America for economic reasons; how the return to Poland from Russia was very painful and sad, and she remembers her parents crying bitterly; the efforts of all citizens to rebuild the city, including school children; keeping their Judaism hidden; being taunted at school for her religion, and changing schools often to avoid the suffering; her family moving to Israel when the Jews were allowed to leave Poland; how it was a tough experience and they arrived in 1957; being a teenager, and having no Jewish knowledge or background; how their neighborhood was populated by poor people, mainly from Morocco; her father being unable to do the only job offered to him; being shunned because she was white and wanting to return to Poland; her aunt visiting from Chile and inviting them to go to Chile; how her family had never adapted to changes easily, neither to Israel nor to Chile; the journey on a ship to Buenos Aires; the Andean train; having to learn another language and adapt to a new environment; not experiencing antisemitism in Chile; and her dilemma between being a Jew and a citizen of the world.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Krawczyk, Johanna
Stutman, Andrea
interview:  2011 February 05
1 digital file : MOV.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Fundación Memoria Viva
Record last modified: 2022-06-16 10:13:21
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