Polish Jewish civilian child in Warsaw Ghetto, Poland, 11/1940-3/1943; escaped from Warsaw Ghetto, 3/1943; lived under false identity in Warsaw, Poland, 3/1943-8/1944; inmate of Pruszkow Concentration Camp, Poland, 8/1944-1/1945
REEL 1 Recollections of background in Warsaw, Poland, 1929-1939: family circumstances; non-religious attitude of family; awareness of Jewish identity; Polish antisemitism; education; further information on family circumstances. Recollections of German occupation of Poland, 9/1939-12/1940: memories of outbreak of war, 1/9/1939; effect of German Air Force bombings of Warsaw; story of how her dog was taken away and cared for by local butcher during Second World War; extended family situation; treatment of Grandfather by German troops; treatment of Jews by German authorities; story of how apartment had been denuded of possessions; question of importance of speaking Polish and having Aryan appearance; fate of stepfather.
REEL 2 Continues: death of uncle in Treblinka, 1942. Recollections of period as inmate in Warsaw Ghetto, Poland, 11/1940-3/1943: accommodation; continuing education illegally; deaths and typhus; beginning of re-settlements, 7/1942; how her mother would hide her in Toebbens workshop during daytime; dread of selections; hearing stories of people who returned from Treblinka; how parents were persuaded to give up their hidden children; hiding to avoid deportation; declining state of health; infestation of rats in rooms; decision and preparations to escape from ghetto; obtaining papers legally from Gestapo.
REEL 3 Continues: hiding places constructed by ghetto inmates; incident of mother who killed her baby in order to silence it; narrow escape from round up in street. Recollections of period living on false papers in Warsaw, Poland, 3/1943-8/1944: sight of burning ghetto after their escape; hiding places; blackmail attempts by Polish civilians; importance of maintaining looks and use of appearance to advantage in finding accommodation; meeting with Jewish man in hiding and his disappearance; narrow escape from Polish newspaper boy attempts to denounce her.
REEL 4 Continues: story of how Klein-Smith and her mother found self-contained room until Warsaw Uprising, 8/1944; involvement with underground groups; question of wisdom of Warsaw Uprising and Russian's ability to enter city; story of loss of boyfriend during Uprising; narrow escape from sniper. Recollections of period as inmate in Pruszkow Concentration Camp, 9/8/1944-18/1/1945: reception in camp; how they were saved from entering the camp by Red Cross; gaining protection from Polish women Kielbasinska, who worked for Gestapo in hospital; story of how Klein- Smith's mother testified on behalf of Kielbasinska after the war; staying in Pruszkow area after Germans departed; liberation by Russians, 18/1/1945. Recollections of period in Poland, 1945: situation on move to Warsaw; return to countryside; second return to Warsaw.
REEL 5 Continues: Recollections of period as displaced person in Czechoslovakia and Germany, 1945-1947: journey across Czech border in bogus Red Cross vehicle; arrival on outskirts of Prague; aid from Czechoslovakian civilian to get to German border; move into displaced camp in Munich; mother's role with UNRRA; applying for visa to US. Recollections of period living in US from 1947: marriage and life in New York; death of first husband on visit to Germany; living conditions and marriage to second husband. Aspects of experiences in Warsaw, 1939-1945: reasons for not talking about her experiences; special relationship with her mother; question of wartime knowledge of Final Solution; story of offer made to save them in 1942.
REEL 6 Continues: Aspects of being Holocaust survivor in US and visits to Poland, 1947-1990's: story of how she was tricked out of compensation by lawyer, 1951; reasons why survivors started talking about Holocaust in 1970s; attitude of US Jews towards Holocaust survivors; how Holocaust survivors rebuilt their lives in US without outside help; question of Jewish identity and importance of Israel; attitude to Poland and how her mother could never return; state of Jewish cemetery in Warsaw; story of visit to Jewish cemetery in immediate post war period.
One of the most memorable elements of the Holocaust Exhibition is the video testimony by survivors which accompanies visitors along the route. But what happened to the survivors after the Second World War? How did they rebuild their lives in the years that followed their release from Nazi persecution?
As the Allies advanced across Europe at the end of the Second World War, they came across concentration camps filled with sick and starving prisoners. The first major camp to be liberated was Majdanek near Lublin, Poland in July 1944.