Jewish survivors of the Holocaust

Reifer, Shmuel (7 of 18) The Living Memory of the Jewish Community

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  • Type


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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

    Continues story of Nazi hostage-taking and extortion; 1,200 Jewish men paid 50 marks to have their loved ones released; they were beaten up and returned to the ghetto; those who did not pay were rounded up and put to work on a motorway; 500 of this group sent to Stalingrad to work on railtracks, only 100 returned some three months later. Description of Brande "recuperation" camp, where invalids were sent and usually killed. 19 February 1942, Gauleiter Wagner orders all Jews killed; family hid in room below cellar. Story of capture, with father and sister, by the SS; his sister's role in saving his life. Mentions family members killed at Auschwitz; their ashes sent back to family. Anecdote about Laderer, a Jewish collaborator, and his mistress Mandelbaum.

  • 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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