Jewish survivors of the Holocaust

Reifer, Shmuel (1 of 18) The Living Memory of the Jewish Community

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  • Subjects

    Camp experiences

  • Recording date


  • 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

    Born Chrzanow, Poland, part of orthodox Jewish community; some 12,000 Jews in all in town, more than a third of population. Discusses history of town. Family had worked in timber since foundation of town; traded more with Germans than Poles; explanation of Polish rural economy as it pertained to timber. Discussion of grandfather's business and personality; intensely religious Hassid; responsible for most of Shmuel's religious education. Discussion of grandmother. Discussion of Hassidism.

  • 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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