Peter P. testimony 1987 [video recording]
Date of Recording14 January 1987
Duration1h 54m 24.0s
SynopsisPeter P. was born on February 1, 1927 in Vienna, Austria. He describes his family and his parents’ divorce. He recalls childhood poverty living with his mother and sister. He recalls his early education and attending school. He describes increased antisemitism and violence. He describes the Anschluss and leaving for Czechoslovakia. He describes how his mother received a job in England and had her children move to Belgium to live with a grandmother and aunt. He describes how he and his sister obtained tickets to join their mother but the German invasion of Belgium stopped them from leaving. He discusses how his grandmother died and how he and his sister were left on their own. He describes living on the street and being unable to receive help from the Jewish community in Belgium because they were in the country illegally. He describes his arrest by the Gestapo and deportation to Malines. He describes the train transportation to Auschwitz. He describes the selection process, the conditions of the barracks, and learning about the gas chambers. He explains dehumanization practices in the camp and incidents of abuse. He describes volunteering to clear rubble in the Warsaw ghetto. He describes suffering from typhus. He describes working in the kitchen and stealing food. He describes a death march from Warsaw followed by train transportation to Dachau. He describes slave labour. He describes evacuation towards Austria and learning that the German army had surrendered. He describes liberation by United States troops. He describes reuniting with his sister and aunt. He describes joining their mother in Glasgow. He describes moving to Vancouver after his sister married and moved to Toronto. He describes how his sister stayed hidden in a convent for the duration of the war. Peter discusses how much of a role luck played in his survival. He explains how he believes his underprivileged and independent upbringing was important to his survival in the camp. He discusses his sharing his experience and speaking to students.
Funding NoteCataloguing and digitization of this testimony was supported by funding from the Government of Canada.