Oral History Interview with Hyman Blady

Hyman Blady was born February 11, 1920 in Warsaw to a middle class Zionist family; he belonged to HaShomer HaTzair. His father owned a shoe store. He discusses pre-war Poland, his education, and antisemitism in Poland. Hyman’s family was forced into the Warsaw Ghetto in 1939. A Christian friend helped him get some supplies out of his family’s shoe store to make shoes in the ghetto. Hyman also gives numerous of examples of Poles smuggling into the ghetto to buy Jewish wares at unreasonably low prices and describes how Jews managed to survive.

He escaped from the ghetto for a time passing as an Aryan, but returned to care for his younger brother when his mother died. He gives a detailed description of the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942. After hiding in the ghetto, he and his brother are eventually found and sent to Bobruisk concentration camp for more than a year. Hyman worked as a shoemaker. His very young brother survived because a German soldier took pity on him when he was selected to die and made him his shoe polisher. Hyman worked as a shoemaker in several camps which he describes in detail. He and his brother were deported to Blizyn (for eight months), then Hyman was separated from his brother when he was deported to Plaszow (for six months) where he did saddlework. He describes the relatively improved conditions there.
In 1944, Hyman was deported to Mauthausen and then the Gusen subcamp where he worked underground building a factory for Messerschmidt airplanes for the Germans. He describes the deplorable conditions, selections, and scarcity of food. He details the horrible conditions during a deportation to get deloused in Linz, Austria. Many perished in a sealed cattle car and train cars were bombed by the Allies while there. Hyman describes being sent back to Gusen and then again to Mauthausen from which they were taken on a death march to Gunskirchen where they were scheduled to be killed. Hyman was liberated by Americans May 4 or 5, 1945. He and a group of boys went to a farm not far from Wels. He got ill eating too much food too quickly and was taken to a hospital in Lambach (Austria) for 2 weeks, but insisted on returning to his eight friends. After a time all refugees were forced to a DP camp near Wels. Subsequently, they travelled to Föhrenwald DP camp and he was eventually reunited with his brother who had survived Auschwitz. Hyman married in 1946. After their planned emigration was delayed because of the Exodus, they stayed in Germany, had a son, eventually emigrating to the United States sometime before 1950. Hyman attributes his survival to his sheer will to live and luck.

Date: 10/02/1982
Interviewer: Hanna Silver
Interviewee: Hyman Blady
Language: English
Subject: World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, Jewish
Passing as an Aryan
Bobruysk (Concentration camp)
Majdanek (Concentration camp)
Blizyn (Concentration camp)
Plaszow (Concentration camp)
Mauthausen (Concentration camp)
Gusen (Concentration camp)
Linz (Concentration camp)
Gunskirchen (Concentration camp)
Föhrenwald (Displaced persons camp)
Death marches
Location: Warsaw, Poland
Warsaw Ghetto, Poland
Bobruysk concentration camp
Lublin-Majdanek concentration camp
Blizyn concentration camp
Plaszow concentration camp
Mauthausen concentration camp
Gusen concentration camp
Linz concentration camp
Gunskirchen-Wels I concentration camp
Föhrenwald displaced persons camp, Austria
Wels, Austria
Permalink: https://hoha.digitalcollections.gratzcollege.edu/item/oral-history-interview-with-hyman-blady/