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Kotkowsky, Charles - Oral History of a Holocaust Survivor

https://www.cjhn.ca/en/permalink/cjhn67759
Collection
WITNESS TO HISTORY COLLECTION (MHMC-02)
Description Level
Item
Material Format
moving images
Physical Description
01:09:37
Archival / Genealogical
Archival Descriptions
  1 video     1 image  
Collection
WITNESS TO HISTORY COLLECTION (MHMC-02)
Description Level
Item
Material Format
moving images
Physical Description
01:09:37
Creator
Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre
Language
English
Notes
Charles Kotkowsky was born in Piotrkow Trybunalski, Poland on August 8, 1920. He says that he encountered significant antisemitism growing up. After the German invasion in September 1939, he was made to wear an armband identifying him as Jewish and became afraid to go outside. A ghetto was constructed almost immediately in Piotrkow Trybunalski. Charles worked in a glass factory and was in communication with a Jewish Resistance group. In 1942, he and his brother Shlomo were taken to a nearby labour camp. In November 1944, they were again transferred, first to the HASAG Pelzery, near Cz?stochowa, Poland, and then to Buchenwald in January 1945, where Charles was tormented and humiliated by being forced to strip naked in the freezing cold. Charles was taken on a death march to Floeszberg - a subdivision of Buchenwald - in Febuary 1945. The camp was incomplete, and Charles had to help in its construction. In April the camp was evacuated and the prisoners were placed on a train headed for Czechoslovakia. Along with seven other people, including his brother, Charles jumped off the train and successfully escaped. The group was hidden by sympathetic Czechoslovaks in Plzen, Czech Republic (Czechoslovakia). They were there hiding in a barn when they were liberated by the American Army on May 8, 1945. After the war, Charles mentioned that he was invited to what he described as a “séance,” where he witnessed captured S.S. men being beaten - one of whom was killed. His brother contracted tuberculosis and needed to be moved to a hospital in another town. Unfortunately, Charles could not stay with him in Czechoslovakia for long. He soon moved to a series of DP camps in Italy, working in a doctor’s office. In 1951, he was refused entry into the United States, but was accepted into Canada, arriving there that same year.
Accession No.
WTH-068
Name Access
Kotkowsky, Charles
Places
Piotrkow Trybunalski, Poland, Europe
Archival / Genealogical
Archival Descriptions
Repository
Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre
Video Tracks
Images
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