"Yes, that's my father."

Uploaded by ushmm on 09.06.2011

[music plays throughout] Sol Finkelstein: On September 1, 1939, the
German[s] attacked Poland without any provocation. We were not allowed to be on the street, or
walk on the sidewalk, no school, no synagogue. We were treated worse than a dog, worse than
a critter, like a cockroach who could be stepped on and killed off without any reason other
than we were Jewish. And I was all of 14 years-old. I went through tremendous atrocities. I was
starved, I was beaten, and I lost my father at that time. We were at Mauthausen in Austria
and three days before liberation, all the prisoners that were held in the camp, including
my father, were evacuated and I lost trace of him.
Joseph Finkelstein: For 63 years, he did not know what happened to his father. He didn’t
know how he died or where he died. Sol: I felt an enormous guilt. What if? What
if I didn’t leave him? What if I stayed that night and he would be with us? Why did
I lose my father? After all these years of suffering, and so close to being freed.
Joseph: I contacted the Holocaust Museum, about a week or two later, I received from
the Museum a document and on the list was my grandfather’s name, his date of birth,
his place of birth, and a grave number. My grandfather walked three days, three nights
with the other Jews to this camp, where many died along the way and in the camp and he
was liberated there by the United States army on May 4th. So he survived. He survived liberation.
He was taken to a hospital in Wels and he died four days later. There was really nothing
more that my father could have done for him. Sol: Now I know where my father is. It’s
not easier that I know, but at least I know. Joseph: Family, children of survivors—we
don’t have any artifacts, we don’t have any—we don’t have photographs, we don’t
have family heirlooms. They call us the second generation, which, if you think about it,
means our parents are the first generation and nothing existed before us. And it’s
not true. We had a whole history. We had a whole world and my grandfather, just one person
in that world, but he existed. He existed before the war…and I found him.
Dad, I have more information for you. Sol: Yes?
Joseph: Um, I’m going to show you a picture. Remember I told you there might be a picture?
I have his picture here. So I think –the Museum thinks—this is a picture of your
father. Sol: Yes, that’s my father, that is my father.
Where did you get it? Where did you get it? Joseph: They sent someone to Radom and they
found it. Sol: That is my father. Forgive me, Dad, but
I live with you in my mind, all of my life.