Oral History Interview with Alexandra Gorko

Alexandra Gorko, nee Paley, was born in Kiev, Russia in 1916. Her family returned to Lodz, Poland in 1922 to escape communism. She was married to a non-Jewish Polish Judge and reserve officer who was killed after the German invasion. She describes her life after the German invasion and the estab¬lishment of the Lodz Ghetto, including help from non-Jewish neighbors. She describes in detail her work as the supervisor and nurse in one of the ghetto hospitals. She refers to the betrayal and deportation of thirteen young men to Chelmno in January 1942 for building and using an illegal radio. Transported to Auschwitz in August 1944, she refers to the transport, selection and Appells. She describes her refusal to follow Mengele’s orders to inject pregnant women with a gasoline-type solution and her subsequent beatings.

She was later transported to Ravensbrück, Mühlhausen ammunition factory in the fall of 1944, and Bergen-Belsen in February 1945 where she was liberated by Montgomery’s army in April 1945. She refers to the Swedish Red Cross moving Jews who were ill to Sweden. She reflects on strategies for coping. She emigrated to the USA with her second husband in July 1948.

Date: 08/19/1985
Interviewer: Eileen Steinberg
Interviewee: Alexandra Gorko
Language: English
Subject: Forced labor.
Holocaust survivors.
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Personal narratives.
Human experimentation in medicine--Poland.
Jewish ghettos--Poland--Łódź.
Jewish women in the Holocaust.
Jews, Ukrainian--Poland--Łódź.
Pregnant women.
Prisoners--Abuse of--Poland.
Women concentration camp inmates.
World War, 1939-1945--Concentration camps--Liberation.
World War, 1939-1945--Conscript labor.
World War, 1939-1945--Deportations from Poland.
World War, 1939-1945--Hospitals--Poland--Łódź.
Women--Personal narratives.
Kyïv (Ukraine)
Lower Saxony (Germany)
Łódź (Poland)
Poland--History--Occupation, 1939-1945.
United States--Emigration and immigration.
World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Poland.
Gorko, Alexandra, 1916-
Auschwitz (Concentration camp)
Mühlhausen (Concentration camp)
Ravensbrück (Concentration camp)
Bergen-Belsen (Concentration camp)
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine
Lodz, Poland
Lodz Ghetto
Auschwitz concentration camp
Ravensbrück concentration camp
Mühlhausen concentration camp
Bergen-Belsen concentration camp
Permalink: https://hoha.digitalcollections.gratzcollege.edu/item/oral-history-interview-with-alexandra-gorko/