Oral History Interview with Genia Klapholz

Genia Klapholz (née Flachs), born in 1912 in Wisnicz, Poland, describes being raised in a religious family; the ghettoization of the town during WWII; witnessing the murder of her baby niece by a German soldier; escaping with her younger sister and paying a woman in a neighboring village to hide them for eight days; having to return to Wisnicz; being transported to the Bochnia ghetto, where they worked in a uniform factory for one year, enduring terrible conditions; moving next to the Szebnie transit camp, where they saw Jews from Tarnow burned alive; her Yiddish poem, “In Memory of My Sister, Serl, of Camp Szebnie” (she reads it during the interview; note that it and another poem, “The Death March from Auschwitz” are included with the transcripts); working for three months as a cleaning woman in a factory at Szebnie; being deported to Auschwitz in 1942, which she describes in detail; the brutal treatment during her two years in Birkenau; working in the ammunition factory, from which four young women smuggled gunpowder for the attempted explosion of the crematoria and witnessing their hanging after they were caught; a particular delousing incident, during which she had to stand in the snow, naked for hours; her foot operation, performed without anesthesia; being forced to leave Auschwitz on a death march in January 1945; escaping with two other women and finding shelter with a Polish woman and her family in Silesia; how this family was recognized as one of the “Righteous among the Nations” by Yad Vashem in 1991; being liberated by the Russians on March 28, 1945 and returning to Krakow, Poland in search of her family; living in displaced persons camps in Ainring, Regensburg, and Landsberg, where she met and married Henry Klapholz; immigrating with her husband and baby son in 1948 to the United States; buying a farm in Vineland, NJ; and moving to Philadelphia, PA in 1955.

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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