Michel M. testimony 1984 [video recording]
Date of Recording19 September 1984
Duration1h 50m 54.0s
SynopsisMichel M. was born in Wasilków, Poland on March 20, 1927. He describes his family and their religious life. He describes the Jewish community. Michel recalls increasing antisemitism. He recalls the German invasion, later Soviet occupation, and German reinvasion. He describes the burning of a synagogue and mass killing. His family fled to Zabłudów, Poland. He recalls ghettoization of Białystok and the conditions. Michel describes learning of his father’s scheduled arrest, hiding, and transport to the Prużana ghetto. He discusses his decision with his brother to stay in the ghetto with their parents. He describes the liquidation of the ghetto and his family’s deportation to Auschwitz. He recalls arriving at the camp and the selection process where he was separated from his parents and sister. Michel describes forced labour constructing a camp for gypsy [Roma and Sinti] prisoners and building crematoria. He describes the roles and duties of commandos and sonderkommandos. He discusses relations between groups in the camps. Michel describes performing one year of slave labor in Buna and the I.G. Farben factory. He recalls his transfer to Dora with Russian POWs and how he posed as one of them. He recalls his transfer to Bergen-Belsen, the conditions in the camp, and the liberation by British troops. He describes his recovery. He describes returning to Białystok and facing continued antisemitism. He speaks of reuniting with his sister in Czechoslovakia and travelling to Paris with the assistance of Haganah. He describes his marriage to another survivor and sharing his experience with his children. He discusses the importance of giving testimony. Michel shows photographs.
Funding NoteCataloguing and digitization of this testimony was supported by funding from the Government of Canada.