Joseph and Rena Gottesfeld Schenley Testimony in the Fortunoff Video Archive at Yale

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The Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at the Yale University Library has as its aim "to record, collect, and preserve Holocaust witness testimonies, and to make its collection available to researchers, educators, and the general public." In 1985, Skala survivors Joseph & Rena Gottesfeld Schenley were interviewed, so that their recollection of their Holocaust experiences might be preserved.

The library catalogue's summary of their one hour and fifteen minute testimony is as follows: "Videotape testimony (on YouTube) of Joseph S. who was born in Korolevka, Ukraine in 1910 and Renata S. who was born in Lwo´w, Poland in 1924. Mrs. S. recalls childhood; Soviet occupation; German occupation; round-ups; fleeing to Skala; her father's deportation; meeting her husband; and their marriage. Mr. S. relates his privileged status as the only dentist in Skala; hiding family members with a patient; hiding with his wife in the Borshchov ghetto; a German officer warning them of round-ups; the killing of eight hundred Jews; and the mass grave exploding months later from decaying bodies. Mr. and Mrs. S. discuss the Judenrat; bunkers; the last Aktion when the town was declared Judenrein; smuggling themselves to Hungary; incarceration in Ma´ramarossziget; being freed because Mr. S. had a document from a Hungarian officer he had helped; moving to Budapest; obtaining false Christian papers; moving to a farm; the birth of their son; his baptism; and liberation by the Soviets. They describe moving to Vienna; emigration to the United States; adjustment difficulties; their daughter's birth; sadness and hate when recalling the deaths of so many children; the murder of their son several years ago, about which Mrs. S. wrote a poem; and her teaching about the Holocaust in the school where she works. Mrs. S. emphasizes suddenly feeling human again, upon arriving in Hungary, when she was no longer plagued by constant fear, hunger, lice, and filth."

The call number for the Schenley tape is HVT-583. For a full listing of Yale's partner sites, see

This page created by Max Heffler
The photograph of the Schenleys is a screen-capture from the youtube video, copyright: The Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at the Yale University Library Updated Nov 20, 2018. © Copyright 2005 Skala Research Group. All Rights Reserved.