Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Harry Joseph Feldinger

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - Anti-Semitism in Czechoslovakia / forced labor camps / creation of Jewish ghettos

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Partial Transcript: Course there was anti-semitism in, in th, in th, the public schools in those years.

Segment Synopsis: Harry Feldinger discusses the anti-Semitic attitudes that existed in Czechoslovakia during World War II. He shares about his difficulty in school due to these attitudes, and about the creation of the Jewish ghettos. He explains how men in the Jewish communities were taken to labor camps.

Keywords: Armies; Children; Family; Ghettos; Labor camps; Prejudice; Public schools; Segregated areas; Segregation in schools; Self-injury

Subjects: Jewish families; World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives.

GPS: Czech Republic
Map Coordinates: 49.75, 15.5
00:06:27 - Difficulty discussing experiences / processing tragedy / life in Jewish ghettos

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Partial Transcript: So its very difficult, you know, to, uh--and I--to talk about those things. That's why it took so many years.

Segment Synopsis: Feldinger explains how emotionally difficult it has been to discuss his personal experiences. He discusses his reaction to the genocides in Rwanda and how hard it is to mentally process these types of tragedies. He describes what it was like living in the Jewish ghettos in Czechoslovakia.

Keywords: Daily life; Family; Ghetto; Grief; Holocaust deniers; Interviews; Jewish businesses; Necessities; Needs; Rwanda; Schools; Survivors; Tragedies

Subjects: Genocide; Jewish families; World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives

GPS: Czech Republic
Map Coordinates: 49.75, 15.5
00:12:53 - Journey to Auschwitz

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Partial Transcript: So, on the day that they came, did they have warning that they were gonna come?

Segment Synopsis: Feldinger highlights his and his family's journey to Auschwitz. He tells about the conditions on the cattle cars they were on.

Keywords: Cattle cars; Family; Hungarian soldiers; Leaving homes; Personal belongings; Poland; Railroad

Subjects: Auschwitz (Concentration camp); Travel

GPS: Auschwitz (Concentration camp)
Map Coordinates: 50.035833, 19.178333
00:16:30 - Arriving at Auschwitz / initial experiences at Auschwitz

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Partial Transcript: Once we arrived to Auschwitz, I remember, uh, jumping, I was jumping off th, the train, the cattle car, with my father.

Segment Synopsis: Feldinger describes what occurred when he first arrived at Auschwitz, and being separated from his family. He highlights the cleansing process that took place before he entered Auschwitz.

Keywords: Barracks; Deception; Hair cuts; Prison clothes; Separation from family; Showers; Starvation

Subjects: Auschwitz (Concentration camp); Jewish families

GPS: Auschwitz (Concentration camp)
Map Coordinates: 50.035833, 19.178333
00:23:06 - Anti-Semitism in Europe / personal experiences at Mauthausen

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Partial Transcript: It's very tough to believe in God, very tough. I have very difficulties believing in God.

Segment Synopsis: Feldinger recalls the anti-Semitic attitudes that were prevalent across Europe during World War II. He then tells about his experiences at the Mauthausen concentration camp.

Keywords: Anti-Semitism; Bombings; Cannibalism; Czechoslovakia; Dog meat; England; Extermination camps; Food; France; Germany; Horse meat; Hungary; Poland; Religious beliefs; Starvation

Subjects: Mauthausen (Concentration camp); Torture; World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives

GPS: Mauthausen (Concentration camp)
Map Coordinates: 48.256944, 14.501111
00:28:59 - Experiences during Death March

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Partial Transcript: They marched us to Gunskirchen. I was also--you ever heard of Gunskirchen?

Segment Synopsis: Feldinger shares about the Death March he was forced to walk from Mauthausen to Gunskirchen, Austria. He describes the systematic starvation and killing that occurred during this time.

Keywords: Austria; Extermination; Firing squads; Forests; German soldiers; March; Prisoners; Starvation; Toilet facilities

Subjects: Death march survivors; World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives.

GPS: Gunskirchen (Austria)
Map Coordinates: 48.134444, 13.943056
00:34:08 - Effects of starvation / liberation by Allies

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Partial Transcript: We were there for about--til May, til May 5th. I was liberated on May 5th.

Segment Synopsis: Feldinger describes the liberation of himself and his fellow prisoners by Allied soldiers. He explains how many of the concentration camp survivors died after liberation, and the cause of their deaths.

Keywords: Allied forces; Barracks; Deaths; Food; Guards; Medical assistance; Medical care; Prisoners; Starvation; Storage areas; Water

Subjects: World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives

00:40:19 - Finding necessities after liberation / attempts to journey home

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Partial Transcript: And then, w, w, we, w ,we, we walked into, we walked into town. We walked into town.

Segment Synopsis: Feldinger describes his first bath outside of the concentration camps and his first experience with freedom since his imprisonment. He discusses meeting others from his hometown in Czechoslovakia and their attempt to return home.

Keywords: Basic needs; Clothing; Czechoslovakia; German soldiers; Hometown; Hygiene; Leaving Austria

Subjects: World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives.