JRI Poland #Poland Sweden Lund University launches 500 Survivors' Testimonies from Women #poland
Jan Meisels Allen
This week, Lund University in Sweden will launch a digital archive of
514 women and children survivor's testimonies who were interned in the
Ravensbruck Nazi concentration camp located in Northern Germany. There
are about 10,000 pages that have been digitized. Access to the archive
The archive includes interviews with the internees as well as documents
belonging to survivors and Nazi officials. The interviews were all
taken within 18 months of the camp's liberation and reveal details of
slave labor, medical experiments, torture, and killing. As some of the
internees were in other camps before Ravensbruck their testimonies
also include information on other camps. The archive also includes
survivors items brought with them such as diaries, letters and photographs.
To read the interviews go to:
Interviews are in Polish with English and Swedish translations available
on the website.
Ravensbruck interned 132,000 people of whom 92,000 died. After the
Russians liberated the camp in April 1945 the Swedish government
brought over 20,000 survivors >from that camp and others to both
Denmark and Sweden.
To read more about the digital archive go to:
A video of the survivors after the camps' liberation is available on the
link provided above. Narrative is in English.
There is another article about 1,000 Polish survivors of Nazi
concentration camps who ended up in the woods of Oreryd, Smaland County,
Sweden. The survivors were part of the Swedish Red Cross's "white
buses operation" -the largest rescue operation to take place within
Nazi Germany during World War II.
Of the 31,000 people liberated through this effort approximately 40
percent were Polish and one-third or more were Jewish. Forty-three
percent of the 10,000 survivors were Polish. The roughly 1,000 Jewish
and non-Jewish Poles who made their way to the Oreryd refugee camp
in 1945 were part of this group of survivors. The survivors were very
ill and broken and many did not survive long after their rescue and
are buried in cemeteries in Lund.
The experiences of the Polish refugees in Oreryd was not good due to
cultural differences, and the locals not comprehending what tortures the
refugees underwent while imprisoned. Jewish survivors, were often
confronted with anti-Semitism >from their non-Jewish countrymen
within the camp. To read more about Oreryd, see:
Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee