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The Bleeding Sky-Recollections of the Shoah

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My mother, Malka Brandsdorfer, lived in a small Polish town near the German border. At the start of World War II she was married and had a young daughter. During the war her married name was Goldratt. She recorded her recollections of the Holocaust. The conditions in the town. Her family's struggle and the ghetto and camps she lived through. She tells of how many of her family died and how only she and one sister survived. Her recollections are told in Yiddish. There is a written version of my mother's story in English that can be downloaded at the website.

My mother, Malka Brandsdorfer, lived in a small Polish town near the German border. At the start of World War II she was married and had a young daughter. During the war her married name was Goldratt. She recorded her recollections of the Holocaust. The conditions in the town. Her family's struggle and the ghetto and camps she lived through. She tells of how many of her family died and how only she and one sister survived. Her recollections are told in Yiddish. There is a written version of my mother's story in English that can be downloaded at the website.
More Information

Location:

United States

Description:

My mother, Malka Brandsdorfer, lived in a small Polish town near the German border. At the start of World War II she was married and had a young daughter. During the war her married name was Goldratt. She recorded her recollections of the Holocaust. The conditions in the town. Her family's struggle and the ghetto and camps she lived through. She tells of how many of her family died and how only she and one sister survived. Her recollections are told in Yiddish. There is a written version of my mother's story in English that can be downloaded at the website.

Language:

English


Episodes

Chapter 1

6/4/2008
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My mother begins her recollections of the Shoah with a conversation she had with a friend and fellow survivor.

Duration:00:09:53

22_Wesbaden

6/4/2008
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Leaving Poland for good, my mother travels looking for surviving family and friends. She finds very few, and learns of the fate of many of them. Settling in a displaced persons camp in Wesbaden Germany, she meets my father and starts a new family before moving to America.

Duration:00:08:11

21_Returning

6/4/2008
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Returning home after the war. My mother travels on foot and by train through war torn Germany and Poland. She finds other survivors, among them her younger sister Fay. Her homecoming is bitter sweet with the realization of how few survived and the hostile greeting the returning Jews received from the Polish townspeople.

Duration:00:11:22

20_Liberation

6/4/2008
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The labor camp at Neustadt is unexpectedly liberated when the German guards abandon the labor camp. The Germans move west to excape the advancing Russian army.

Duration:00:06:16

19_Neustadt

6/4/2008
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The labor camp near Hamburg, where my mother spent the last few months of the war.

Duration:00:09:04

18_Death March

6/4/2008
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With the Russian army nearing Auschwitz in January 1945, the Germans evacuate the camp and force march the prisoners to the concentration camp at Gross Rosen. Known as the Death March, it lasted many days with the prisoners walking through the bitter cold and heavy snow. Many did not survive, as the German guards killed any who stopped walking.

Duration:00:04:42

17_Auschwitz

6/4/2008
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Toward the end of 1944 my mother's kommando is moved from Birkenau to the main camp in Auschwitz.

Duration:00:10:48

16_Blue Affect

6/4/2008
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My mother bribes her way into the Blue Affect. It was the building where the clothes of Auschwitz's victims was sorted for use by the Germans.

Duration:00:08:14

15_The Bleeding Sky

6/4/2008
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With the fires in Birkenue burning all the time, to dispose of the bodies of the murdered Jews, the ash turns the evening sky blood red. My mother describes this vision of hell that was Auschwitz.

Duration:00:11:45

14_ Yenta and Sara

6/4/2008
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Yenta and Sara, my mother's 2 youngest sisters come to Birkenau. The three of them are reunited, but only for a short while as disease and the gas chamber take both of them.

Duration:00:09:37

13_Mala Zimetbaum

6/4/2008
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My mother is rescued from the gas chamber by Mala Zimetbaum. Later Mala Zimetbaum escapes from Auschwitz with a male accomplice. After a few days they are caught and executed in front of the whole camp.

Duration:00:03:34

12_Birkenau

6/4/2008
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My mother goes to work in Birkenau, part of Auschwitz, the large death camp in Poland.

Duration:00:17:36

11-Majdanek

6/4/2008
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Packed into a crowded freight car my mother is sent from Warsaw to the Majdanek. Majdanek was the major concentration camp on the eastern side of Poland.

Duration:00:15:37

10_Uprising

6/4/2008
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In April 1943, the Germans conduct a final aktion to clear the Warsaw ghetto. The Jewish partisans of the ghetto create the Passover uprising and my mother goes into hiding with the other Jews in her building.

Duration:00:08:57

9 - Aktion

6/4/2008
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An aktion was what the inhabitants of the ghetto called the German military operations to capture and remove the Jews from the ghetto. My mother describes the aktion that catches the last of the children and sends them to Treblinka.

Duration:00:05:19

8 - Werterfassung

6/4/2008
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With most of the ghetto's Jewish population removed, my mother was assigned to a work detail (Werterfassung in German) that gathered all the valuables from the emptied apartments.

Duration:00:07:54

7 - Warsaw

6/4/2008
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My mother and her daughter are captured in the Warsaw train station, trying to get to the east to find her brother. They are put in prison with other Jews caught outside the ghetto.

Duration:00:12:21

6 - Running

6/4/2008
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Having no place left to hide near her home town, my mother and her daughter travel around Poland looking for a safe place to hide from the Germans.

Duration:00:14:15

5 - Hiding

6/4/2008
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The last Jews of the town and region are rounded up for deportation. My mother, fearing for the life of her daughter, goes into hiding. One of her sisters joins her as they move from place to place seaking refuge.

Duration:00:17:52

4 - Assemblies

6/4/2008
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The Germans start to assemble Jews from the area and send them to work camps. Later assemblies send them to death camps.

Duration:00:10:39