Oral History Interview with Genia Klapholz

Genia Klapholz, nee Flachs , was born in 1912 in Wisnicz, near Krakow, Poland to a religious family. After the town was ghettoized, she witnessed her baby niece kicked to death by a German soldier. Genia and a younger sister escaped and paid a woman in a neighboring village who hid them for eight days. They had to return to Wisnicz and were then transported to the Bochnia Ghetto, where they worked in a uniform factory for one year, enduring terrible conditions. They moved next to the Szebnie transit camp, where they saw Jews from Tarnow burned alive. Genia reads aloud her Yiddish poem, “In Memory of My Sister, Serl, of Camp Szebnie.” (Included with the transcript are Yiddish transliteration and English translation of this poem. Also included are the Yiddish transliteration and English translation of another poem, “The Death March from Auschwitz.”)

Genia worked for three months as a cleaning woman in a factory at Szebnie before deportation to Auschwitz in 1942, which she describes in detail. She discusses the brutal treatment during her two years in Birkenau. She worked in the ammunition factory from which four young women smuggled gunpowder for the attempted explosion of the crematoria and she witnessed their hanging. She describes in detail a delousing procedure, when she had to stand in the snow, naked, for hours. She also tells of her foot operation, performed without anesthesia. Forced to leave Auschwitz on a death march in January, 1945, she managed to escape with two other women and they found shelter with a Polish woman and her family in Silesia. This family was recognized as one of the “Righteous among the Nations” by Yad Vashem in 1991. Documentation from Yad Vashem accompanies the transcript.
Genia was liberated by the Russians, March 28, 1945, and returned to Krakow in search of her family. She was in Displaced Persons camps in Einring, Regensburg and Landsburg, where she met and married her cousin, Henry Klapholz. With their baby son, they immigrated in 1948 to the United States, where they bought a farm in Vineland, New Jersey. In 1955, they moved to Philadelphia.

Date: 07/29/1981
Interviewer: Lucille Fisher
Interviewee: Genia Klapholz
Language: English
Subject: Burning (Execution)
Concentration camp inmates' writings.
Concentration camp inmates--Medical care--Poland.
Death march survivors.
Death marches.
Disinfection and disinfectants--Poland--Oswiecim.
Forced labor.
Hiding places--Poland.
Holocaust survivors--United States.
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Poland--Personal narratives.
Jewish ghettos--Poland--Bochnia.
Jewish ghettos--Poland--Nowy Wisnicz.
Jewish women in the Holocaust.
Jews--Poland--Nowy Wisnicz.
Women concentration camp inmates.
World War, 1939-1945--Conscript labor.
World War, 1939-1945--Deportations from Poland.
World War, 1939-1945--Destruction and pillage--Poland.
Women--Personal narratives.
Ainring (Germany)
Bochnia (Poland)
Landsberg am Lech (Germany)
Nowy Wisnicz (Poland)
Philadelphia (Pa.)
Poland--History--Occupation, 1939-1945.
Silesia (Poland : Voivodeship)
United States--Emigration and immigration.
Vineland (N.J.)
Klapholz, Genia, 1912-
Ainring (Displaced persons camp)
Auschwitz (Concentration camp)
Birkenau (Concentration camp)
Landsberg am Lech (Displaced persons camp)
Regensburg (Displaced persons camp)
Szebnie (Concentration camp)
Location: Nowy Wiśnicz, Poland
Bochnia Ghetto
Szebnie concentration camp
Auschwitz II-Birkenau concentration camp
Ainring, Germany
Regensburg displaced persons camp
Landsburg displaced persons camp
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