Respondent
Stern, Mark
Interview Date
March 17, 1986
Abstract
Mark Stern, a survivor of the Holocaust served as executive director of Beth Shalom Temple; birth year, 1922;
[T1S1] parents' background in Germany; number of his parents' family members that survived the Holocaust; his religious education; atmosphere in his parents' home; discussion of events in Germany in 1939; seizure of family business by Germans; his move to Poland; recollections of living in a Polish ghetto in 1940; his views about the power of hatred; recollections of family affluence before the war; the deaths of his brothers and sisters in the gas chamber;
[T1S2] discussion of his experiences in the camp near the Belarus; his narrow escape from death; his move to Italy after the war; his feelings toward Germany at that time; his experience in a kibbutz in Italy; recollections of family members being taken away by Nazis; discussion of his feelings of guilt about surviving; his nightmares of fear;
[T2S3] discussion of his life in Poland; moving his family to Yaslov after his father is sent to Siberia; his recollections of installing electricity in a Gestapo member's house; some of the Jews methods of survival in the ghetto; effects of his experience on his attitudes toward Judaism;
[T2S4] further discussion of the hardships of life in camp; the "KL" tattoo he received on his hand in Poland; the lack of medical care in the ghetto; the use of numbers and symbols to identify Jews; his work in the labor camps; the story of his liberation; his experiences in refugee camps; meeting his wife while trying to board a train to Palestine; his passage to Italy;
[T3S5] further discussion of life in the refugee camp in Italy; his marriage and honeymoon to other refugee camps in Italy; his education in civil engineering in Italy; their move to the United States to be with his wife's family; discussion of family members who survived the Holocaust; discussion of the "selection" process of Nazis; discussion of his wife and her experiences during the Holocaust; their early married life in New York with her family members; his education and employment in accounting in New York; the reunion with his brother in Israel after twenty-four years;
[T3S6] discussion of his leaving Italy to come to the United States; obtaining his American citizenship; his sons' employment with the United States government; the story of how he was hired as executive director of Beth Shalom in Pittsburgh, PA; the move with his family to Pittsburgh in 1973; views about changes in Jewish religion; changes in Beth Shalom;
[T4S7] comparison of Pittsburgh Jewish community to others; views about Pittsburgh Jewish community; discussion of activities, facilities, and the cemetery at Beth Shalom; his commitment to volunteerism;
[T4S8] discussion of anti-Semitism in the United States; comparison of Squirrel Hill to Poland; pride in his Jewish heritage.
Subjects
Germany; Holocaust survivors; Italy; National socialism; Poland; Synagogues; Beth Shalom Congregation (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Birth Date
1922
Country
Germany
Profession
Accounting
Length (hours)
4
Interviewer1
Kimball, Harold
Interviewer2
Shapiro, Arlene
Collateral Materials
Box 106 FF 41
Identifier
ais196440.455
Rights
All rights reserved. University of Pittsburgh