Interviewee: Boguslaw [last name unknown]
Interviewer: David P. Boder
Recordist: David P. Boder
Transcriber: Alicia Nitecki
Transcriber: Dagmar Platt
Translator: Alicia Nitecki
Translator: Dagmar Platt
Annotator: Eben E. English
Writer of added commentary: Eben E. English
Editor: Eben E. English
Creation location: UNRRA University of Munich
Boder recorded this short interview on September 24, 1946, his last day of interviews in Munich. Like other interviewees who used pseudonyms or refused to give their full names, Boguslaw was reluctant to reveal his identity to Boder, and his surname is never mentioned. At the time, the practice of giving recorded statements was still a new concept, and many interviewees—especially those who had plans to emigrate to Palestine—were wary of Boder’s motives, not to mention possible repercussions (real or imagined) should their testimony be heard by the wrong ears.
Boguslaw was active in the Polish Resistance movement during the German occupation of Poland, which began in 1939. He also claims to have helped in organizing the ill-fated Warsaw Ghetto Uprising which took place in April 1943, although he was arrested by the Gestapo and taken to the infamous Pawiak prison just before heavy fighting began. His arrest and subsequent deportation to the Gross-Rosen concentration camp may have saved his life—the German response to the Uprising was unmerciful. Approximately 13,000 Jews were killed during the battle, and many of the remaining 50,000 residents were sent to the Treblinka extermination camp. After the deportations, the Germans razed the ghetto to the ground.
Though he does not mention it to Boder, Boguslaw may have been moved to another camp during the war—he claims to have been liberated by "Anglo-American" troops, but Gross-Rosen was in fact liberated by Soviet forces on February 14, 1945. At the time of the interview, he was studying music at the UNRRA University at the Deutsches Museum in Munich. No discussion of his future plans is included.
It is unclear why Boder did not choose to transcribe this interview as part of his efforts during the late 1940s and early 50s—the short duration of the interview (less than 15 minutes) may have been a factor. Unfortunately, the only existing copy of the recording is marred by static and uneven volume levels, so a full transcription could not be made. Still, it provides a noteworthy glimpse into Polish life under the German occupation, and the efforts of the Jewish population to resist their fate.
—Eben E. English