Testimony Excerpts Single Witness Programs
8025 Leon S. Edited Testimony
A Jew from Poland tells his story with painful deliberation. He describes the liquidation of the Jews of his town, during which he witnesses the murder of his grandmother, and his experiences in the concentration and slave labor camps of Plaszow, Skarzysko-Kamienna, Buchenwald and Theresienstadt. Mr. S. relates that he became religious in the camps and still uses the tefillin and prayer book he removed from the huge piles of religious objects which he found in Terezin after he was liberated. He is grateful that he was able to retain his faith and humanity in spite of all that he suffered and witnessed. 40 minutes.
8035 Helen K., Edited Testimony
A survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto, Majdanek and Auschwitz relates her wartime experiences and describes her postwar reunion with her husband, whom she had married in the ghetto at the age of 16. She emphasizes her determination to survive as an act of defiance against Hitler, a decision she reached when her younger brother died in her arms in the cattle car en route to Majdanek. The theme of resistance, both passive and active, recurs throughout her testimony. Mrs. K. concludes on a pessimistic note, wondering whether "it was worth it" in view of the continuing suffering and inhumanity in the world. 30 minutes.
8039 Edith P., Edited Testimony
A survivor from eastern Czechoslovakia relates her wartime experiences in an emotionally powerful and unusually poetic way. She tells of her family's evacuation to a brick factory, their train journey to Auschwitz and their separation upon arrival. She describes her life in Auschwitz and later in Salzwedel, where she worked as a cook for the SS. Mrs. P. recounts the joy of liberation by American soldiers and concludes by expressing her distress at her own, and the world's complacency while suffering and inhumanity continue. 30 minutes. Excerpts from this testimony are available online.
8041 Paul D., Edited Testimony
Illustrating his recollections with photographs, a child survivor from Hummene, Slovakia describes an early childhood full of love and warmth in spite of the death of his father when he was three years old. With evident pride in his own resourcefulness and that of the adults who cared for him, he relates his wartime experiences of flight, hiding, and living "on the Aryan side" in the manner of an adventure story, though it is told against the backdrop of the disappearances and deaths of family members - grandfather, favorite cousin, beloved stepfather - until only he and his mother remain. During a recent period of despondency, overcome by the feeling that many people from his childhood live only in his memory, Mr. D. told his son about these people. He is now confident that will live in his son's memory as well. Some profanity. 33 minutes.
8047 Renee H., Edited Testimony
From the point of view of the child that she was at the time, a survivor of Bergen-Belsen from Bratislava, Slovakia relates her wartime experiences. She tells how, in German occupied Bratislava, she served as the "ears" of her deaf parents and younger sister, alerting them to impending roundups of Jews. She speaks of her vain attempts to find shelter for her sister and herself after the deportation of her parents and her voluntary surrender to the police in the hopes of being reunited with her parents in Auschwitz. She describes the life that she and her sister led in Bergen-Belsen, where, to her dismay, the train had taken them instead, and where they remained until their liberation. After the war she again had the sense of having been taken to the wrong place when, arriving in New York during a heat wave, she thought she was in Africa. But the voices of unfamiliar relatives calling "Renee" signaled the beginning of her new life. 30 minutes.
8050 Rabbi Baruch G. Edited Testimony
A survivor from Mlawa, Poland tells of his childhood and youth. Recollections of the joyous Passovers of his childhood call to mind his feelings of loneliness at his son's Bar Mitzvah, at which there was no one present from his side of the family, since all had perished in the Holocaust. Rabbi G. chronicles the breakdown and destruction of his closely knit extended family and his own personal deterioration as he experienced the degradations of numerous concentration and slave labor camps. He describes the process of his recovery and relates his insights into its limitations, which are poignantly revealed as he speaks of his relationship with his son. 40 minutes. Excerpts from this testimony are available online.
8062 Rachel G. Edited Testimony
A child survivor from Brussels, Belgium, relates her wartime experiences. She tells of her leave taking from her parents, and lovingly recalls the kindness of the priest, nuns, and childless couple who helped her survive in hiding. She also recounts her postwar reunion and experiences with her mother. 25 minutes. Excerpts from this testimony are available online.
Edited Testimony 8063 Menachem S. Edited Testimony
A child survivor relates his vivid memories of Krakow, the German occupation, and moving to the ghetto and to Plaszow concentration camp. He tells of being smuggled out of the camp and surviving as a street child from age four to seven, with the aid of a variety of Polish women. He reflects upon his postwar reunion with his parents, the psychological effects of his experiences and the possible effects on his own children, the next generation. 42 minutes.
8075 Fred O. Edited Testimony
A physician, Fred O. recalls the health problems resulting from pervasive lice in the Warsaw and Hrubieszow ghettos. He describes his futile attempt to save his parents and the last time he saw them before their murder at a mass grave outside of Hrubieszow, then discusses his sadness at liberation, and others taking revenge on their guards. Dr. O. reflects upon the inadequacy of language to convey his experience to others. 14 minutes.