Oral History Interview with Anatole Gorko

Anatole Gorko was born in Lodz, Poland on June 28, 1907 of well-to-do Zionists. He worked in his father’s spinning factory until 1939, when Germany invaded Poland. He fought in the Polish Army for three weeks. After being in the Reserves, he was taken to a prisoner of war camp for a few weeks. He found himself with his family in the center of the Lodz Ghetto in January 1940 and describes the life there. He worked as head cashier for the ghetto stores until August 1944.

He and his family including his wife and child were finally deported to Auschwitz, in cattle cars, where, in the presence of Mengele, only he and his brother-in-law were selected for work and the rest of the family perished. He describes the train ride, arrival, selection, and shaving. He remained there for one month, then pretended to be a mechanic and was selected for a camp in Sudeten where after two weeks of training he worked on V2 rockets. Here he managed to sabotage, and persuade other workers, including German mechanics, to sabotage the work. He worked there from September 1944 until May 1945 when the Russians liberated the area. He made his way back to Lodz where he remarried, became head of the textile production for Communist Poland, but decided to leave. He smuggled himself and his wife to Munich, and waited from 1946 to 1948 to obtain necessary papers to resettle in the United States. He describes in some detail his adjustment to the United States.

Date: 08/20/1985
Interviewer: Eileen Steinberg
Interviewee: Anatole Gorko
Language: English
Subject: Concentration camp inmates.
Forced labor.
Holocaust survivors.
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Personal narratives.
Jewish ghettos--Poland--Lódz.
Men--Personal narratives.
Ration cards--Poland.
Textile industry--Poland.
World War, 1939-1945--Concentration camps.
World War, 1939-1945--Deportations from Poland.
Lódz (Poland)
Poland--History--Occupation, 1939-1945.
Sudetenland (Czech Republic)
Gorko, Anatole, 1907-
Auschwitz (Concentration camp)
Location: Lodz, Poland
Lodz Ghetto
Auschwitz concentration camp
Friedland concentration camp
Munich, Germany
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