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Child Survivors of the Jewish Holocaust Collection

The Child Survivors of the Jewish Holocaust Collection grew out of the work of Dr. Sarah Traister Moskovitz, who has done much research and writing on people who survived the Holocaust as children. The collection consists of twenty-three oral history interviews done with child survivors recorded on video tape. 

Orignal Beba Leventhal interview tapes recorded on Betamax tapesMany years ago, the library was given the Sarah Moskovitz Collection of video-taped interviews, now held in the Music and Media area of the University Library. During the pandemic, Special Collections took all twenty-three videotaped interviews and digitized them. After digitizing the interviews, staff created transcripts for each interview. Most of the interviews will soon be available in the library's Digital Collections, though some interviewees requested that theirs be available for viewing only in person at the University library, or be completely closed to researchers until 2037. For those interviews that are online, users will be able to view the videos while reading the transcripts. 

Interviewee Adele Beim was born in Bussum, Holland in 1937. When SS officers arrested her grandparents in 1942, her parents sent her away to live with a Catholic family in Laren, Holland. Her parents then removed her from that location because they were not entirely sure they could trust the family she was living with. They spent the remainder of the war living in a trailer in the woods in secret. 

Interviewee Dana Schwartz (née Schapira) was born in 1935 in Lwów, Poland. She witnessed the German invasion of Poland in 1939. She and her parents were initially detained in the Jewish ghetto, where she experienced hunger and other forms of deprivation, and was sexually assaulted by a German soldier. After her father was captured and sent to Auschwitz, she and her mother escaped to the countryside, where they lived on a farm, disguised as Gentiles. After the war ended, Schwartz and her mother relocated to Sweden before emigrating to the United States. On May 29, 1986, she had her picture featured on the front page of the Los Angeles Times in an article titled “Children of the Holocaust”.  

Interviewee Beba Leventhal (née Epstein) was born in Vilna, Poland in 1925. In 1941, when she was about fourteen, Epstein and her family were forced to move into the Jewish ghetto in Vilna. Her family managed to send her to live with a Gentile family for a time. She returned to the ghetto after a few months to look for her family, but did not find them. She remained in the ghetto until it was liquidated, then worked as a forced laborer for a Gestapo officer, as part of a cleaning crew, and in a factory, all the while performing small acts of sabotage to undermine the German war effort.

Interviewee Alex Radziner was born in 1932 in Amsterdam, Holland. Radziner was separated from his parents at age nine when Amsterdam's Jews were rounded up and sent to concentration camps. He posed as the nephew of a Christian family in the town of Bolsward until the end of the war. Although physically well cared for, Alex lived under tremendous strain; the fear of being discovered was constant, as were the feelings of anguish over disloyalty to his father and people since his safety depended on his living as a Christian. Secretly, he tried to remain a Jew. 

These interviews and more are currently in the process of being made available online via the Library’s Digital Collections and in the Special Collections & Archives Reading Room. Some have already been posted, including the Adele Beim interview described above, and four others. 

Still frame from Adele Beim's Video Interview, 1983, Child Survivors of the Jewish Holocaust Collection
Still frame from Alex Radziner's Video Interview, 1982, Child Survivors of the Jewish Holocaust Collection
Still frame from Beba Leventhal's Video Interview, Child Survivors of the Jewish Holocaust Collection
Still frame from Dana Schwartz's Video Interview, 1983, Child Survivors of the Jewish Holocaust Collection
View of the Child Survivors of the Jewish Holocaust Digital Collection Webpage
Image of Dr. Sarah Moskovitz, 1974, University Archives Photograph Collection 99-97-01

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