Oral History Interview with Raoul Harmelin

Raoul Harmelin, born September 11, 1924 in Boryslaw, Poland (Boryslav, Ukraine), describes being the only son of a doctor; receiving both a secular and a Jewish education; his pre-war life in Boryslaw; life under the Russian occupation; life under the Germans after June 1941, including the pogroms, anti-Jewish measures, attitude of the local population, and formation of forced labor battalions organized by the Judenrat (Jewish council); a series of Aktions (roundups and mass murders of Jews) from November 1941 to 1943, and the murder of 600 Jews in Doly; how some Aktions were conducted by a German Vernichtung Kommando under General Katzman; how Polish and Ukrainian locals, Austrians in the Schutz Polizei, and Reiterzugpolizei, the Polish Kriminalpolizei, and Jews in the Ordnungsdienst all helped to round up Jews; the transfer of Jews to a camp at Ulica Janowska in Lwow (L'viv, Ukraine) or forced labor in local industry; how most Jews were transported to and murdered in camp Belzec; escaping from a roundup and witnessing the murder of an infant and a young girl; his father continuing to work because Jewish doctors were needed to treat the citizens of Boryslaw; hiding with his mother with the help of one of his patients; the creation of a ghetto, which was liquidated after a forced labor camp for Jews was opened in 1943; how Jews who could not hide were murdered or worked as slave laborers in the Zwangsarbeitslager in Boryslaw; working in connection with the war effort and having some degree of protection; getting news from London via radio and from an underground paper published by the Armia Krajowa (Polish Home Army); how an Ukrainian acquaintance hid 13 Jews, including Raoul and his parents from March 13, 1944 to August 8, 1944, when the Russians came back; his postwar life under the Russian occupation, including two arrests and escape to Breslau (Wroclaw, Poland); deciding with his parents to leave Poland after a pogrom in Kielce; staying in Paris, France, aided by HIAS; going to Sidney, Australia in November 1947; bringing his new wife and her parents to Australia later; his life in and adjustment to Australia after a very difficult beginning; his relatives on both sides of his family who were killed or survived; and the actions of non-Jews during the Holocaust.

Date: 04/26/1992
Interviewer: Edith Millman
Interviewee: Raoul Harmelin
Language: English
Subject: Forced labor.
Hiding places--Ukraine.
Holocaust survivors.
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Ukraine--Personal narratives.
Jewish councils--Ukraine--Boryslav.
Jews--Legal status, laws, etc.--Ukraine.
Mass murder--Ukraine.
World War, 1939-1945--Conscript labor.
World War, 1939-1945--Deportations from Ukraine.
World War, 1939-1945--Underground literature--Ukraine.
Men--Personal narratives.
Location: Boryslav, Ukraine
Permalink: https://hoha.digitalcollections.gratzcollege.edu/item/oral-history-interview-with-raoul-harmelin/