Teenaged Judith Perlaki recalled cheating death twice after being deported from Hungary to Auschwitz. But most of her family wasn’t so fortunate. While assigned to sort the belongings of people sent to the gas chambers, Judith discovered the dresses of her little sister and aunt.
When the Germans took control of the Greek city of Salonika, Elias Racanati’s family had one chance to escape—his mother’s family hailed from Spain. But they had to cross German-occupied Europe to get there.
Malka Baran expressed her love of children by caring for a toddler hidden in the barracks of a concentration camp and teaching first grade at her DP camp. It was the start of her lifelong commitment to early-childhood education.
Fleeing Warsaw ahead of the invading Nazis, concert pianist Leon Pommers was propelled into a perilous journey around the world in hopes of reuniting with his sister in America.
As Polish Jews fled across the border into Hungary bearing stories of Nazi atrocities, Esther Schwartzman’s family and community didn’t believe that such things could happen to them. Then in early 1944, everything changed.
When Abram Merczynski’s brother organized an orchestra in the Lodz ghetto, Abram promised himself that if he survived the war, he’d learn to play the violin. He lived—and kept his promise.
Deported to the Plaszów concentration camp, Helen Jonas faced almost certain death. Instead, she was chosen by Amon Göth—the camp’s notorious, brutal commandant—to be his servant.
Teenage Annelies Herz saw that fellow Jewish forced laborers were disappearing. So to survive in wartime Germany, she and her twin sister went underground: they secured new identities and never stayed in one place for long.
Isaac Zieman was a passionate young Zionist with plans to make a life in Palestine. Instead, the Nazi invasion of Latvia propelled him on a years-long journey that took him across the Soviet Union and Europe and finally to the United States.
High school teacher Sally Frishberg used her childhood experience of being hidden for two years with her family in a Polish farmer’s attic to create one of the first public high school classes on the history of the Holocaust.
Hear excerpts from the second season of “Those Who Were There,” featuring testimonies drawn from the nearly 600 interviews conducted by the Museum of Jewish Heritage in affiliation with the Fortunoff Archive.
In October 1945, Celia Kassow gave birth to her son Sam in a German displaced persons camp. Seventy-five years later, Sam Kassow reflects on his mother’s life and an astonishing journey of discovery to his mother’s hometown in Eastern Europe.
When Nazi troops seized the Polish farm where Celia Kassow was in hiding, she fled once again—this time into the forest, where she joined the Soviet partisans.
When Nazi bombs fell from the sky, Celia Kassow fled her Polish boarding school and sought help from a classmate who lived nearby. The response? “Get away from here, you dirty Jew.”
Renee Hartman was just a child when the Nazis swept into Czechoslovakia. Her parents and sister were deaf, so she became her family’s ears, alert to the sound of the Gestapo’s boots.
Eighteen-year-old Arne Brun Lie answered the patriotic call to join the Norwegian resistance. But instead of fighting for his nation’s freedom, he found himself in the hands of the Nazis, fighting for his life.
After liberation from a slave labor camp, Sally Finkelstein Horwitz and her sister returned to Poland where anti-Jewish pogroms forced them to seek refuge in Germany.
When Heda Kovaly was deported from Prague to the Lodz ghetto, along with thousands of other Jews, she never imagined that of her entire extended family, only she and her husband would return alive.
Leon Bass faced racism growing up in Philadelphia, confronted it in the Army, and discovered its “ultimate” endpoint at a German concentration camp called Buchenwald.
As a little boy, Martin Schiller was sent to a slave labor camp in Poland along with his family. Separated from his mother, Martin never lost hope of being reunited with her after liberation. This is his story of survival.
Meet host Eleanor Reissa and hear excerpts of upcoming episodes featuring first-hand accounts of the Holocaust—drawn from the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale University.
Please join us for the Series Introduction to “Those Who Were There,” a podcast featuring audio from videotaped interviews with Holocaust survivors and witnesses conducted between 1979 to the present. The interviews were conducted by Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, which is housed at Yale University Library's Manuscripts and Archives Department. The first season will include ten episodes episodes featuring nine survivors and witnesses.