Jewish survivors of the Holocaust

Reifer, Shmuel (4 of 18) The Living Memory of the Jewish Community

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  • Type

    sound

  • Duration

    00:30:37

  • Shelf mark

    C410/083

  • Subjects

    Camp experiences

  • Recording date

    1990-03-28

  • Is part of (Collection)

    The Living Memory of the Jewish Community

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home

  • Interviewees

    Reifer, Shmuel, 1920- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Gould, David (speaker, male)

  • Recordist

    Gould, David

  • Abstract

    The rise of Hitler and increase in pogroms: Bilicz, Lvov, Lodz, Chela. Political situation in 30s Poland; the rise of the Nazis in Danzig/Gdansk. Recollection of the day of invasion by Nazis; Chrzanow invaded only days after occupation. Earlier reaction to expulsion of Polish Jews from Germany; Poland did not take them in; Jewish communities collected charitable donations for them, but there was no big outcry. Munich agreement interpreted by Polish Jews as betrayal by Chamberlain; discussion of 1917 Balfour Declaration. Mobilisation of civilian population into army to guard against invasion; orthodox community excused. When Chrzanow invaded, all Jews were hiding in synagogues and easily captured. Murder of 132 Jews in local sports centre; made other Jews bury them in mass grave; eventually reburied by community in Chrzanow.

  • Description

    Interviewee's note: Born in Chrzanow, between Krakow and Katowice in Poland. Family history; timber trade; very orthodox Jewish community. Discusses simultaneous rise of Hitler and pogroms in Poland. Hid from Nazis on invasion of Poland; 132 neighbours massacred in local sports field. Lived in Chrzanow 'ghetto' until 1943, until Nazi deportations necessitated escape with father and brother to Sosnowice; father bribed SS guard to get sent as labourers to local farm. Winter 1943, Nazis begin liquidation of small labour camps and farms; sent to IG Farben plant in Blechammer, then railway in Reichenbach, then Krupps factory in Marskadt. 1944, sent to Gorlitz camp and then Zittau; describes life in both camps. 1945, Red Army liberates camp. After liberation found surviving family and stayed in Poland until 1949 and then moved to Switzerland; met wife there, and moved with her to Stamford Hill in London, working in book trade.

  • Related transcripts

    Full transcript of the interview

  • Related links

    Voices of the Holocaust - link to learning materials based on the moving stories of Jewish Holocaust Survivors on the British Library Website

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