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Aron S. testimony 2016

Holocaust Testimony

Object IDAS1606_02_VD
Date of Recording18 June 2016

InterviewerKrieger, Kit
IntervieweeSzajman, Aron
Duration3h 14m 17.0s
SynopsisAron Szajman was born in Tarczyn, a small town outside of Warsaw, on 11 November 1923. He was one of six siblings raised by his father after his mother died when he was four years old. The family moved to Warsaw where his father was a cheesemaker. AS describes his memories of living on a predominately Jewish street in Warsaw and attending a Polish school. AS recalls his interest in Zionism and involvement in the Betar youth group including training. He describes antisemitic attacks. He describes the German invasion of Poland. He and his younger brother were smuggled to Belarus where their sister and brother-in-law were living. AS describes the living conditions in Warsaw and in Pinsk. His brother returned to Warsaw to retrieve their father and AS never saw either of them again. In 1940, AS was arrested and interrogated. He was sentenced to hard labor in a gulag. He describes the living and working conditions in various gulags. AS discusses the system to get food and how he was accused of favoring other Jews and sentenced to additional time in prison. After his release, AS recalls travelling south to Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan with a group of released Polish-Jewish prisoners. He describes finding work on a kolkhoz. He describes being picked up by Russian officials to work in Moscow. After being arrested for not having papers, AS joined the Polish army where he fought with an artillery unit liberating Warsaw and Berlin. He reflects on returning to Warsaw on furlough to find his family and learning they were gone. AS discusses his decision to go to a DP camp and ultimately immigrate to Israel. AS describes finding a place on the Ben Hecht ship that was captured by the British and his internment in Cyprus. AS recalls meeting his wife, also a Holocaust survivor, and their arrival in Israel. He describes joining the Irgun and fighting in Israel. AS discusses their decision to move to Canada. He discusses his work as an artist. He reflects on telling the story of his Holocaust experience. AS shows photographs.
RightsConsent & Release to Video Record and Retain Records on file
NoteAron Szajman's sons, Sam and Al Szajman, also appear in the recording.
Funding NoteCataloguing of this testimony was supported by funding from Library and Archives Canada.