Still image from Paula K. Holocaust testimony, August 21, 1985.
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Paulina K. testimony 1985 [video recording]

Holocaust Testimony

GenreTestimonies
Object IDPK8508_02_VA
Date of Recording21 August 1985

InterviewerHayden, Sandra
IntervieweeKirman, Paulina
Duration1h 51m 46.0s
LanguageEnglish
SynopsisPaulina K. was born May 15, 1919 in Włodawa, Poland and moved to Warsaw at six weeks old. She describes her family. She recalls attending a Jewish school. She describes her religious education. She describes experiences with antisemitism and increased persecution after 1933. She describes the invasion of Poland and siege of Warsaw. She explains how she married her boyfriend and they planned to escape. She describes their escape to Lublin where relatives arranged for them to travel to Brest. She describes her job as a nurse with the Red Cross. She describes returning to Włodawa to convince her parents to leave. She and her mother-in-law left but were arrested and interrogated. Paulina describes being sent to jail in Brest and knowing she was pregnant at this time. She describes seeing her husband from the yard for the last time and not being allowed to communicate. Paulina explains that due to her pregnancy she was not sent to a labour camp but further into Russia to another jail. She describes being taken to the city hospital to give birth to her daughter. She was then taken to the prison hospital where there were other Russian women with small children. She describes their transfer to a labour camp and how her daughter was placed in a nursery. Paulina explains she was sent to work as a nurse in the hospital, which was close to her baby. She describes corresponding with her husband. She explains the political agreement between the exiled Polish government and Russia, which led to her release. She describes going to Kazakhstan and living on a collective farm near Stalingrad. She describes the evacuation of the farm and relocation to Astrakhan. She describes leaving this settlement and working as a secretary for a Polish organization. She recalls meeting her second husband. She discusses learning about the fate of her family and reuniting with her mother and brother. She discusses coming to Canada in 1958. She describes returning to Poland and sharing her experiences with her children and grandchildren. 
Funding NoteCataloguing and digitization of this testimony was supported by funding from the Government of Canada.