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Personal Memoirs, Testimonies and Diaries

Overview

Abstract

Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Anna Przeworska-Pratt papers

Siegfried Halbreich papers

Barry Ziff papers

Anna Lipszyc papers

RG-01.01, Irena Lusky Collection

RG-01.07, Erica Leon Testimony

RG-01.10, Marta Mitdank testimony

RG-01.12,  Ludwik Hirshfeld memoir

RG-01.15, Alice Schragai memoir

RG-01.16, Central Committee of Liberated Jews in U.S. Zone of Occupation in Germany papers

RG-01.17, Otto Herskovic memoir

John van Huzun wartime diary the Netherlands

Collection of Dachau diaries and letters

Betti Gerard papers

Dawid Gertler papers

Josef Broide papers

Henryk Gliksman papers

Nika Fleissig papers



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Personal Memoirs, Testimonies and Diaries, 1918 -- 1996 | Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust

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Collection Overview

Title: Personal Memoirs, Testimonies and Diaries, 1918 -- 1996Add to your cart.View associated digital content.

Predominant Dates:1920s -- 1950s

ID: RG-01/RG-01

Primary Creator: Lusky, Irena (ca. 1925-)

Other Creators: Broide, Josef, Central Committee of Liberated Jews in the US zone of occupation in Germany (1945 -- 1952), Epstein, Estera, Fleissig, Nika (1919-), Gerard, Betti (1934-), Gertler, Dawid, Gliksman, Henryk, Halbreich, Siegfried (1909-), Herskovic, Otto, Hirszfeld, Ludwik (1884-1954), Jonski, Jozef (1912-), Legal Department of the Central Committee of Liberated Jews in the US Zone of Occupation in Germany, Leon, Erica, Lipszyc, Anna (1918-), Mitdank, Marta, Schragai, Alice, van Huzun, John, Ziff, Barry

Extent: 0.0

Arrangement:

The arrangement scheme for the record group was imposed during processing in the absence of an original order. Materials are arranged by creator, then by identifier, as assigned by the processor.

Record group is comprised of thirteen collections and five items, the collections of which are: 1. Nika Fleissig papers; 2. Collection of Dachau diaries and letters; 3. Anna Przeworska-Pratt papers; 4. Siegfried Halbreich papers; 5. Barry Ziff papers; 8. Anna Lipszyc papers; 9. Betty Gerard papers; 10. Dawid Gertler papers; 11. Josef Brojde papers; 12. Henryk Gliksman papers; 13. Central Committee of Liberated Jews in U.S. Zone of Occupation in Germany papers.

Subjects: Accusation and suspicion of collaboration in the Holocaust, Allied Military and Civil administration in Germany, Collaboration in ghettos, collaboration in the Holocaust, Collaboration of Jewish Administration in the Holocaust, Immigration to Israel, Immigration to United States, Jewish-Gentile relations, Jewish courts of honor, Jewish courts of honor--Munich (Germany), Legal defense in the Jewish courts of Honor, Means of adaptation and survival in concentration camps, Means of adaptation and survival in the ghettos, personal diaries, postwar life in Europe, survival tactics

Forms of Material: Diaries--Wartime, Memoirs, Memoirs--Post-WWII, Personal memoirs and recollections, Personal testimonies

Languages: English, German, Polish, Yiddish

Abstract

This Record Group is composed of 18 sub-record groups, all devoted to personal and collective memoirs and testimonies, recorded soon after the Second World War. There a few narratives narrated during the wartime.

They reflect various aspects of prewar life, survival under Nazi occupation: ghetto and camp experience, hiding, false identity, resistance activity, liberation, and immigration to the countries of current residence. There are several diaries kept in the camp, ghetto, and in the partisan unit. The original records are in English, German, Polish, and Yiddish. Largely, the documents are partially or fully translated in English. Sub-groups or individual collections within this record group comprise original documents, photographs, artifacts, as well as non-original copies and secondary publications.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The record group contains memoirs, testimonies, and other recollections written before, during, and after the war. They reflect various aspects of prewar life, survival under Nazi occupation--ghetto and camp experience, hiding, false identity, resistance activity--liberation, and immigration. There are several diaries kept in the camp, ghetto, and in the partisan unit. The collections also comprise of original documents, photographs, artifacts, digitized materials, as well as non-original copies and secondary source publications.

Largely, the documents are partially or fully translated in English, but there are also original documents in German, Polish, and Yiddish.

Collection Historical Note

This macro Record Group comprises archival narratives, photodocuments, correspondences and other form of wartime recollections. It is subdivided into 18 sub-record groups. Largely, it is unified by the common theme, that is, reflections on the Holocaust. These narrated reflections vary content and form. Overall, they describe, personal, family and community experience during and after the Holocaust. These narratives are penned by Jewish, non-Jewish authors, as well as by the Jewish organizations and officials. All 18 sub-record groups are unified by a common denominator, namely the analysis and insight of the personally experienced tragedy of the Holocaust, War and postwar difficulties.

Biographical Note

Irena Lusky, née Deuel, was born ca. 1925 in Kaunas (Kovno), Lithuania in an upper middle-class, well educated, and assimilated Jewish family. She describes her childhood experiences in the well-off family focusing on the interfamily relations between herself, her parents, her grandparents, and her sister. Further, Irena Lusky’s narrative depicts a certain strata of Jewish intelligentsia of interwar Lithuania.

The period of 1940-1941, during the Soviet annexation of Lithuania, is reflected through the prism of a young adult’s comprehension of social and political changes taking place in mundane life, as well as of the events jeopardizing the very existence of their family. The latter is related to their arrest and initial stage of deportation, and their release from the transport to Siberia at the last moment. The Deuel family was freed due to the influential intervention of Dr. Finkelstein, an old family friend, who was in high esteem by the new Communist government of Lithuania.

The Deuel family was exposed to the war hardships from the first day, June 22, 1941, when Germany invaded the Soviet Union. After a failed flight attempt, they returned to German-occupied Vilnius (Vilna). While en route to Vilnius, they were arrested several times. Although, at that initial stage of German occupation, it was still possible for them to be released from jail either with the help of bribery or simply appealing to “a good German.”

Irena Lusky describes the life in the Vilna ghetto from two perspectives: first and foremost as a young adult experiencing all ghetto hardships and second, to a lesser extent, as a memoir writer of late 1970s. This latter perspective shows the post-Holocaust interpretations together with the author’s personal reckoning. Overall, this combination of two uncorrelated perspectives culminates in the authentic and independent account with regard to the various sides of ghetto life. Ghetto inhabitants, Judenrat members, resistance activities, German authorities, and numerous existential situations are reflected in the narrative. The reader will find among other such reflections, the author’s insights on Jewish leadership as a whole and specifically on such controversial figure as Jacob Gens, the head of the Judenrat and the Jewish Police Force in the ghetto.  The Wittenberg Affair is also accounted as the author’s first-hand experience.

Irena was also only indirectly involved in the FPO (Fareinikte Partizaner Organizatsie—United Partisan Organization) and therefore did not join its members in escaping from the ghetto into the forest to continue the partisan struggle. The FPO decided to leave the ghetto before it was liquidated. The Deuel family survived the liquidation of the ghetto only to face German selection. In September 1943, the remaining ghetto inhabitants were taken outside the city into an open field called Rossa for the selection. The first stage of selection separated male and female family members. Irena would never see again her Father, Dr. Finkelstein, and her boyfriend Gamek Sturman. The next stage of selection resulted in the separation of Irena and Tamara from their mother. The Germans directed the daughters to the right, while their mother was sent to the left.  The sisters sensed that “right” meant life and some hope, while the people sent on the left were doomed. Irena remembers how her mother was calmed and pleased by seeing the daughters on the life side. Irena and Tamar Deuel were deported to the Kaiserwald concentration camp near Riga, Latvia.

After a ten-week imprisonment in Kaiserwald, Irena and Tamara were transferred to the AEG factory in Riga, a labor camp officially referred as Riga-Strasdenhof camp, where they lived at worked. The conditions there were slightly better than in the Kaiserwald camp. In 1944, with the Soviet Army nearing Riga, the Germans evacuated AEG labor camp to Toruń (Thorn), Poland. Here, another underground factory was to be set up in the former castle, designated as “Fort 13.” Irena Deuel (Lusky) remained in Thorn-AEG, the official camp name, through December 1944. At the end of December 1944, the female prisoners of the Thorn-AEG camp were forced to march west, in the direction of Germany. Being badly wearied and ultimately starved, the prisoners were compelled to keep pace under German command.

Irena Deuel managed to escape from the forced march when the column was passing the city of Bydgoszcz (Bromberg), Poland. She ran up to a house and begged for shelter. Only after the long persuasion, a Polish woman let Irena in. After a week of hiding, in January 1945, the entering Soviet Army liberated Irena and the other girls at their hideout. Wandering through the streets of Bydgoszcz, Irena met her sister Tamara and other girls from the camp. Soon after their group left Bydgoszcz for central Poland and headed for Lublin, then a Polish provisional capital. In Lublin Irena learned that her Mother, Father, and Gamek had not survived. Her father was killed in the Klooga concentration camp, Estonia. Her mother was gassed in Majdanek concentration camp, and Gamek died of typhus.

It was in Lublin that Irena, Tamara, and a few other Jewish girls joined the Bricha Movement (an organized Jewish illegal immigration movement from East-Central Europe through the allied-occupied zones to the British-Mandate Palestine). Eventually Irena met the former Vilna Jewish partisan commander Abba Kovner, who was in charge of Bricha operations in East-Central Europe. This meeting played a decisive role in her future when she made a commitment to Palestine, her eventual Jewish home. In total, Irena’s journey to Palestine lasted from March 1945 to January 1946. After a year and a half of wandering through Romania, Hungary, Austria, and Italy, their group finally arrived in the British-mandated Palestine in January 1946. She, as thousands of others at that time, was an illegal Jewish immigrant brought there by the means of another clandestine Jewish movement-- Aliyah Bet, under the patronization of the Jewish Brigade. Upon their arrival to Haifa, the British authorities interned all the repatriates from their ship in the Atlit internment camp.

Eventually the Jewish Agency provided the internees with appropriate papers, and the British set them free. Her first encounter with fellow Jews in a kibbutz was a disappointment to Irena’s expectations and visions for a free and peaceful life in her Jewish state. Irena highly resented the indifference the locals showed to the newcomers in particular, and to the fate of European Jewry during the Holocaust in general.

It was not until Irena Deuel met Maikel Levin in the summer of 1946 that she began to feel differently about herself and the people around her.  Confidence, sympathy, and hope had again filled her life. Having met Maikel at the party, she moved to the Beit Zera kibbutz, on the bank of the Jordan River, near the Sea of Galilee, to be with him. Maikel was a real pioneer and a patriot of the Land. His love helped Irena to appreciate the land and people of Israel. She soon married Maikel and for a while, the couple continued to live at the kibbutz. Irena did not fit into kibbutz work and although she tried her best, kibbutzniks were not satisfied with her. Eventually, it was Maikel’s decision to leave the kibbutz and settle down in a town.

They settled in Givatayim and with the help of a friend Maikel found a job and an apartment. Although they lacked money and situation of the country worsened with every day, they were happy. Adding to this happiness, she became pregnant and looked with hope to the future. On 14 May 1948, independence and establishment of the Jewish State in Eretz-Israel was proclaimed. The war for independence had begun. As a Haganah soldier, Maikel was called up for service. He had to arrive to the Recruitment Center on 18 May 1948. He left home in the morning heading first for work and then, after the workday, to the Recruitment Center. The war between the Israelis and Arabs had already begun, with Jerusalem under siege and local skirmishes beginning to erupt in many places. On that day, 18 May 1948, an explosion at the Central Bus Station, perpetrated by the terrorists, killed Maikel Levin. Irena remained unaware of his fate until the next morning. She was then eight-month pregnant.

In a month Irena gave birth to a girl, but was going through an extremely hard time and suffered mentally and physically. As she recalls, “I was hardly alive, little I comprehended what was going around me.” She could not even take care of her daughter Michal. Eventually time cured her wounds; she remarried to Shimon Lusky, and gave birth to another child, a son. In the 1970s, she was still living in Israel, her past never having left her. She took up this writing with the intention to separate herself from this burden and to place her personal vision, recollections, and reflections in a literary, truthful, and intimate account of her and her time.

Subject/Index Terms

Accusation and suspicion of collaboration in the Holocaust
Allied Military and Civil administration in Germany
Collaboration in ghettos
collaboration in the Holocaust
Collaboration of Jewish Administration in the Holocaust
Immigration to Israel
Immigration to United States
Jewish-Gentile relations
Jewish courts of honor
Jewish courts of honor--Munich (Germany)
Legal defense in the Jewish courts of Honor
Means of adaptation and survival in concentration camps
Means of adaptation and survival in the ghettos
personal diaries
postwar life in Europe
survival tactics

Administrative Information

Repository: Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust

Access Restrictions: No restrictions

Use Restrictions:

Copyrighted materials, credits to and references to the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust are required

Digital copies might be available upon request

Preferred Citation: RG-01, Personal Memoirs, Testimonies and Diaries. Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust Archive.

Processing Information: Materials are primarily described using the local descriptive standards of the LA Museum of the Holocaust.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Sub-Collection:

[Sub-Collection RG-01.04: Anna Przeworska-Pratt papers, 1939 -1973],
[Sub-Collection RG-01.05: Siegfried Halbreich papers, 1939 -- 1970s],
[Sub-Collection RG-01.06: Barry Ziff papers, 1944-1945],
[Sub-Collection RG-01.08: Anna Lipszyc papers, 1939 -- 1946],
[Folder 6: RG-01.01, Irena Lusky Collection, 1976 -- 1977],
[Folder 7: RG-01.07, Erica Leon Testimony],
[Folder 8: RG-01.10, Marta Mitdank testimony, 15 October 1946],
[Folder 9: RG-01.12,  Ludwik Hirshfeld memoir, 1946],
[Folder 10: RG-01.15, Alice Schragai memoir, 21 January 1982],
[Sub-Collection 11: RG-01.16, Central Committee of Liberated Jews in U.S. Zone of Occupation in Germany papers, 1946-1949],
[Collection of Folder-Level 12: RG-01.17, Otto Herskovic memoir, 1946],
[Sub-Collection RG-01.18: John van Huzun wartime diary the Netherlands, 1944-1945],
[Sub-Collection RG-01.03: Collection of Dachau diaries and letters, 1933-1945],
[Sub-Collection RG-01.09: Betti Gerard papers, 1936-1949],
[Sub-Collection RG-01.11: Dawid Gertler papers, 1948-1949],
[Sub-Collection RG-01.13: Josef Broide papers, 1979],
[Sub-Collection RG-01.14: Henryk Gliksman papers, 1948-1949],
[Sub-Collection RG-01.02: Nika Fleissig papers, ca. 1920-1989],
[All]

Sub-Collection RG-01.05: Siegfried Halbreich papers, 1939 -- 1970sAdd to your cart.View associated digital content.
This collection contains Siegfried Halbreich's documents in the form of a report, personal identification papers, proof of incarceration in the Nazi concentration camps, and other correspondences stemming from the war-related matters. This collection is comprised of six documents, some of which are copies of original documents.
Arrangement: This collection is arranged to the item-level.
Language of Materials: German, Polish, English
Subject/Index Terms:
Auschwitz (Concentration camp)
Auschwitz (Concentration camp)--Complex of concentration and extermination camps
State Museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau
Auschwitz III (Concentration camp)
Buna/Monowitz (Concentration camp)
Transfer from concentration camps
Transport documents
Transport lists
Prisoner functionaries
Escape from concentration camps
Execution in concentration camps
Means of adaptation and survival in concentration camps
Proof of concentration camp incarceration
Nordhausen (Concentration camp)
Dora-Nordhausen (Concentration camp)
Dora-Mittlebau (Concentration camp)
Identification documents--Post-WWII
Concentration camp hospitals
Detention-rehabilitation prisoners
Organized resistance in concentration camps
Interpersonal relationships in concentration camps
Underground activity in concentration camps
Secrecy within the SS
Hierarchy of the SS
Prisoners of war, British
Union-Werke munitions factory
Prisoner selections
Health and illness in concentration camps
Disease in concentration camps
Liberation of concentration camps
War crimes trials--Post-WWII
Oświęcim (Poland)
Gross-Rosen (Concentration camp)
Sachsenhausen (Concentration camp)
Tarnowskie Góry (Poland)
Hannover (Germany)
Rajsko (Concentration camp)
Rajsko (Poland)
Aurbach, Herschel
Halbreich, Siegfried
Silber, Dr.
Kahn, Rudi
Winter, Dr. Alfred
Taute
Stasiak, Leon
Silman, Leiser
Heymann, Stefan
Budziaszek, Stefan
Rutkowski
Worl, Ludwik
Hess
Markovitsch
Hoffer
Wieczorek, Josef
Kaufmann
Herzog, Gustav
Kozwara, Paul
Neubert, Gerhard
Halbreich, Genia
Grossfeld, Janek
Diament, Leon
Diament, Fredy
Cuenka, Dr.
Orenstein, Dr. Hugo
Adams, Edward, Jr.
Lubitch, Dr.
Sperber, Dr.
Epstein, Dr.
Kovac, Dr.
Unikover, Dr. Franz
Kozdas, Otto
Worgul, Emil
Iwaszko, Tadeusz
Thomas, Robert K.
Creators:
Halbreich, Siegfried (1909-)
Document/Artifact of Item-Level 1: RG-01.05.01, Siegfried Halbreich, Report in the form of testimony, 19 October 1973Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Siegfried Halbreich narrated experience of Nazi-German concentration camps
Subject/Index Terms:
Sachsenhausen (Concentration camp)
Gross-Rosen (Concentration camp)
Auschwitz III (Concentration camp)
prisoner experience in Nazi-German concentration camps
Prisoner functionaries
hospitals in the concentration camps
Relations between prisoners in Nazi-German concentration camps
Lagersaltester, a seniour prisoner in charge on internal order among prisoners
Collaboration with German administration
Prisoner collaboration in Nazi-German concentration camps
survival tactics
Means of adaptation and survival in concentration camps
SS functionaries in Nazi-German concentration camps
Relations between prisoners-functionaries and German administration in concentration camps
escapes from Nazi-German concentration camps
escape attempts from Nazi-German concentration camps
Blockaltester, a prisoner in charge of a barrack in Nazi-German concentration camps
Nordhausen (Concentration camp)
Creators:
Halbreich, Siegfried (1909-)
Document/Artifact of Item-Level 2: RG-01.05.02, State Museum of Auschwitz, letter to Siegfried Halbreich, 19 October 1981Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
This letter refers to the German records as the proofs that  Mr. Halbreich was incarcerated in Auschwitz III - Monowitz concentration camp.
Subject/Index Terms:
Proof of concentration camp incarceration
Proofs of incarcerations under German-Nazi and Axis regimes
State Museum of Auschwitz Complex of Concentration and Death Camps
Auschwitz complex of concentration camps, prisoner records
Auschwitz III - Monowitz concentrtion camp, prisoner records
testimonies from the Nazi-German concentration camps
Lagersaltester, a seniour prisoner in charge on internal order among prisoners
Relations between prisoners-functionaries and German administration in concentration camps
Relations between prisoners-functionaries and ordinary prisoners
Scholarly publications about the Holocaust
Scholarly works in the Holocaust Studies
Mar, Bernard, professor, Holocaust Studies
Creators:
State Museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau
Document/Artifact of Item-Level 3: RG-01.05.03, Siegfried Halbreich, proofs of incarceration in Auschwitz, December 1943Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
The document contains a transport log of prisoners being trasported from Gross Rosen to Auschwitz concentration camp.the document is in German and Polish
Subject/Index Terms:
Proof of concentration camp incarceration
Proofs of incarcerations under German-Nazi and Axis regimes
Gross Rosen, German concentration camp
Gross-Rosen (Concentration camp)
Auschwitz (Concentration camp)
Creators:
Administration of concentration camps (1933 -- 1945)
State Museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau
Document/Artifact of Item-Level 4: RG-01.05.04, Siegfried Halbreich, Identification papers by US military administration, ca 1945Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
The document contains identification papers for Siegfried Halbreich issued by the U.S. military certifying his imprisonment in Nordhausen concentration camp.
Subject/Index Terms:
Proof of concentration camp incarceration
Identification documents--Post-WWII
Nordhausen (Concentration camp)
Creators:
United States Military Government in Germany
Document/Artifact of Item-Level 5: RG-01.05.05, Siegfried Halbreich, ID card issued by US Military authorities of Wiesbaden Detachment, 25 February 1946Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
The document contains an identification card issued to Siegfried Halbreich by the U.S. Military authorities of Wiesbaden Detachment. The I.D. card includes a photograph and a physical description of Halbreich.
Subject/Index Terms:
Identification documents--Post-WWII
United States
Creators:
United States Military Government in Germany

Browse by Sub-Collection:

[Sub-Collection RG-01.04: Anna Przeworska-Pratt papers, 1939 -1973],
[Sub-Collection RG-01.05: Siegfried Halbreich papers, 1939 -- 1970s],
[Sub-Collection RG-01.06: Barry Ziff papers, 1944-1945],
[Sub-Collection RG-01.08: Anna Lipszyc papers, 1939 -- 1946],
[Folder 6: RG-01.01, Irena Lusky Collection, 1976 -- 1977],
[Folder 7: RG-01.07, Erica Leon Testimony],
[Folder 8: RG-01.10, Marta Mitdank testimony, 15 October 1946],
[Folder 9: RG-01.12,  Ludwik Hirshfeld memoir, 1946],
[Folder 10: RG-01.15, Alice Schragai memoir, 21 January 1982],
[Sub-Collection 11: RG-01.16, Central Committee of Liberated Jews in U.S. Zone of Occupation in Germany papers, 1946-1949],
[Collection of Folder-Level 12: RG-01.17, Otto Herskovic memoir, 1946],
[Sub-Collection RG-01.18: John van Huzun wartime diary the Netherlands, 1944-1945],
[Sub-Collection RG-01.03: Collection of Dachau diaries and letters, 1933-1945],
[Sub-Collection RG-01.09: Betti Gerard papers, 1936-1949],
[Sub-Collection RG-01.11: Dawid Gertler papers, 1948-1949],
[Sub-Collection RG-01.13: Josef Broide papers, 1979],
[Sub-Collection RG-01.14: Henryk Gliksman papers, 1948-1949],
[Sub-Collection RG-01.02: Nika Fleissig papers, ca. 1920-1989],
[All]


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