Gesher Galicia SIG #Galicia USHMM Interview with David Kahane: History of WWII in Lwow, Janowska Labor Camp #galicia
Researchers are often unaware of valuable, free online resources,
including many oral history interviews easily available for viewing.
I recently learned of an interview with Rabbi David Kahane, author of
"Lvov Ghetto Diary," on the US Holocaust Memorial Museum's
website. It was conducted on March 27, 1991, for the Israel
Documentation Project. Kahane was born in 1903 in Grzymalow/
Grimaylov/Hrymayliv (Galicia/Ukraine today) and was a former rabbi in
Warsaw. He and his family were hidden by Metropolitan Archbishop
Andrei Sheptytskyi in Lviv during the war, and later he became the
Chief Rabbi of the Polish forces in the territories liberated >from the
Nazis. In 1950 he immigrated to Israel, and in 1966 he was named the
Chief Rabbi of Argentina.
The interview is Hebrew only, but Gesher Galicia hopes to eventually
add English subtitles. The link:
Kahane discusses daily life in Grzymalow; studying to become a rabbi;
teaching high school in Lvov, Poland >from 1929 to 1941; the German
invasion in June 1941; German violence against the Jews; the burning
of synagogues in August 1941; secret worship in homes; the Judenrat
and its role in determining deportations; being deported to Janowska;
living and working conditions in the camp; the Jewish police; the
observance of holidays in the camp; escaping the camp and hiding in a
Greek Orthodox monastery; German crimes in Lvov; mass killings;
meeting with a Gestapo man named Blum after the war; and the fate of
his friend Rabbi Jecheskel Levin.
The time-coded notes (by hour, then minute) provide a greater level
of detail, which may prove useful to researchers in these specific
topics, names or places:
1.01 He was born in 1903 in Grzymalow. Talks about Rudolph Reder.
Tells his story and how he was taking care of a small group of
1.06 Describes life in his village between 1903-1910. He studied in
Tarnopol, Breslav and Vienna. Became a rabbi.
1.09 Returned to Lvov in 1929 and taught in a high school until 1941.
1.11 Germans entered Lvov in June 1941. He describes the
slaughtering of Jews. He was taken to camp Janowski.
1.13 Describes life in the work camp. His belief in the Kaballah saved
1.19 He escaped camp and was hidden a Greek Orthodox monastery
where he wrote a book about his experiences.
1.20 Describes cruelty of Gestapo Wilhouse and Blum.
1.28 Describes his meeting with Blum after the liberation.
1.31 Describes German atrocities in Lvov in July 1941.
1.35 The German organization of the Judenrat. The purpose and
functions of the Judenrat.
1.39 The Jewish Police and its functions.
1.47 Head of Judenrat, Dr. Landesberg. How the Judenrat decided on
whom to put on deportation lists.
2.02 Tells about Dr. Landesberg and the moral problems faced by the
Judenrat and the Jewish Police.
2.13 Talks about his own family.
2.16 Observance of Jewish holidays in the camp.
2.19 Burning of synagogues in August 1941. Talks about secret
worship in homes until winter of 1942. Action in March 1942 when
20,000 Jews were killed.
2.21 Describes the burning of his synagogue.
2.27 Hanukkah in camp Janowski. Selection and killing of 3,000 in
2.35 Christmas of 1942
2.39 Passover in March 1943 and his work in the ghetto.
2.44 History of famous synagogue "Gildene Roise."
2.49 The fate of Rabbi Jecheskel Levin.