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Oral history interview with Barbara J. Syska

Oral History | Accession Number: 2014.297.1 | RG Number: RG-50.030.0770

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.

Barbara J. Syska, born on May 24, 1927, discusses growing up in the city of Białystok, Poland; her parents’ professions and family stories; her school and two Jewish classmates; her parents’ thoughts on religion and politics; her relationship with her parents and older brother; the start of the war and the atmosphere of fear; the arrival of the German and then Soviet armies; Soviet occupation of the city; her father’s experience in the Polish Army and his later imprisonment; her brother’s experiences with the resistance, service in the Polish Air Force, and death in July 1945; her and her parents’ move to a village near Warsaw and their life there; the German occupation; working for the Red Cross Archives and later the Home Army; the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising; the Warsaw Uprising; learning about the transports from Warsaw and the Katyn massacre; her time spent in the prisoner of war camp near Oberlangen, Germany; the camp’s liberation by Polish forces in April 1945; moving with her parents first to Italy to join Anders’ Army and then to England; eventually moving to the United States with her husband and children; earning her bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland; not telling her children and grandchildren much about her wartime experiences; and what she feels are the most important lessons for young people to understand.

Interviewee
Barbara J. Syska
Interviewer
Ina Navazelskis
Date
2014 October 22  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
5 digital files : MPEG-4.