Max A. testimony 1983 [video recording]
Date of Recording25 May 1983
Duration2h 3m 0.0s
SynopsisMax A. was born in Krakow, Poland in 1915. He describes his family. He describes the Jewish community. He explains life in Poland under Józef Piłsudski. He recalls his father’s Zionism but being unable to immigrate due to quotas. He describes the Jewish community of Krakow. He describes a rise in antisemitism following the unification of Poland. He recalls his marriage and birth of his son. He describes the German invasion. He describes traveling east to join troops and returning defeated. Max explains he was able to return to Krakow by posing as a non-Jewish Pole. He describes his participation in the Polish underground. He describes moving to Slomniki with his wife and son when ghettoization was imminent. He describes additional involvement with the Polish underground. He describes bringing water to a compound where Jews transported from the city where his parents and extended family lived. Max discusses staying in the compound knowing he would be deported. He discusses how he was selected for transport to Plaszow and separated from his wife and son (they were likely taken to Auschwitz). He speaks about his experiences with commandant Franz Josef Müller. He explains how he smuggled gold and diamonds into the camp to use for bribes including being assigned to labour in a tailor shop. He explains how he used his connection with the underground and the Joint while in the camp. He describes how Yom Kippur was observed in the camp and how they used the activities of the night as a time to escape with three other prisoners. He describes re-joining the partisan Armia Krajowa and keeping his Jewish identity hidden. He explains how the group he was a part of undertook some operations against Germans but were also taking actions against Jews in hiding. He explains how he did not reveal himself so that he could spy on their operations and forewarn their targets. Max explains why he continued to live as a non-Jewish Pole after liberation. He describes living in Russian occupied Krakow. He describes saving a German Jewish mother and daughter from being executed by Russian soldiers for not having papers. He describes how he saved a British man who had saved many Jews from execution. Max describes his experience of the pogrom in Krakow. He describes establishing a successful business, remarriage, and the birth of a son. He describes escaping Poland into Czechoslovakia and traveling into the American Zone in Germany. He describes immigrating to Canada. He discusses sharing his experience with his children.
Funding NoteCataloguing and digitization of this testimony was supported by funding from the Government of Canada.