Legacy Library

The Legacy Library is a unique collection of documentaries of Holocaust Survivors, Liberators, and Resistors in the Philadelphia area. This collection is an educational resource for teachers, students, historians, and the world. With this continued sharing of knowledge, we will never forget the contributions of these Holocaust eyewitnesses. Each person is a primary source to the events of the Holocaust and World War II. Listen to their stories directly from them, and their own words as they remember it. Each story adds personal insight and humanity to the gravity of what truly happened.

Each documentary is on average 30-60 minutes and includes video timestamps to easily navigate through their testimony. One page biographies are also included and access is provided to the Yaakov Riz Resource Center for additional resources for teaching and learning.

We are aware of the technical difficulties that some videos are producing. We are working to resolve the issues as soon as possible. We apologize for the inconvenience. 

Dr. Leon Bass, U.S. Veteran and Liberator

Legacy Library: Dr. Leon Bass

Dr. Leon Bass is a former high school principal and veteran of World War II who has dedicated much of his life as a teacher, a school administrator, and a speaker, to fighting racism wherever it exists.

As a nineteen-year-old soldier serving in a segregated unit of the U.S. Army, Leon Bass participated in the liberation of Buchenwald concentration camp in 1945. That moment changed his life. “I was an angry soldier,” says Bass. “I was being asked to fight for freedom while at the same time, as a black man, I was constantly being told in many ways that I wasn’t good enough to have that freedom.”

Joe Kahn, Concentration Camp and Ghetto

Legacy Library: Joe Kahn

Joseph Kahn was born in a small town in Poland in 1922. He was 17-years-old when the Nazis occupied his hometown in September 1939. A week after the invasion, the Nazis burned the synagogue which was two blocks away from his home. Joseph and his family hid for three days listening to the constant screaming and shooting coming from outside. Joseph left the hiding place to survey the damage and found charred bodies lining the streets. In 1942 Joseph was arrested and transported to a labor camp.

Klara Vinokur, Concentration Camp and Ghetto

Legacy Library: Klara Vinokur

Klara Vinokur was born in Shpola, a small town in the Ukraine, in 1927. Her mother was a dressmaker, her father was a laborer and she had two siblings. She attended the local school with her non-Jewish Ukrainian friends. On June 22, 1941, the Germans invaded the Soviet Union and her small town became occupied on July 30. On August 19 she was forced to wear an armband with the Star of David and forced to clean the streets and houses. In late September the Shpola ghetto was established and the entire local Jewish population was forced to live in cramped quarters with little food. Klara continued to clean houses and buildings for the Germans. On August 21 her father was murdered.

David Tuck, Concentration Camp and Ghetto

Legacy Library: David Tuck

David Tuck was born in Poland. His mother passed away six months after his birth, so his Orthodox Jewish grandparents took him in and insisted that he receive both a public and Hebrew education. Life drastically changed on September 1, 1939 when Germany invaded Poland. He was 10 years old. Radio broadcasts changed from Polish music to “Deutschland Über Alles,” “Germany Overall.” By December he was forced to wear an armband and then a yellow Star of David and he had to step off the sidewalk and into the street when German soldiers approached him. Within a few weeks David’s family was deported to the Lodz ghetto.

Ernie Gross, Concentration Camp and Ghetto

Legacy Library: Ernie Gross

Ernie Gross was born in 1929 in Turt, Romania. His father was a salesman and his mother was a language tutor. He had five brothers and two sisters. In April 1944, when Ernie was 15 years old, the Hungarian occupiers deported him and his family to the Sevlus ghetto for several weeks into cramped and near starving conditions. Then they were deported to Auschwitz, arriving in late May 1944.

Sarah Meller, Hidden Child and Resistance

Legacy Library: Sarah Meller

Sarah Danon Meller was born in Split, Yugoslavia, in 1933, to hard-working, happy parents. She had 2 sisters and 1 brother. In April 1941, Germany invaded Yugoslavia and carved the country up, giving Croatia to Italy, their wartime ally. During the summer of 1942, on a Friday evening during services, Italian Fascists burst into the Split synagogue and forced everyone out into the nearby square. They then beat the people bloody and, at the same time, looted and burned religious texts, artifacts, and other records. They also smashed Jewish-owned businesses and looted the stores. Sarah, her father, and her brother, late because of a customer at her father’s store, watched in horror from across the square.

Ilse Lindemeyer, Kindertransport

Legacy Library: Ilse Lindemeyer

Ilse Engelbert Lindemeyer was born an only child in 1927 near Frankfurt Germany. She attended public school where she made friends with other children whether they were Jewish or not. After Hitler took power in January 1933 life changed drastically. A few days before Kristallnacht, her father received a call from a friend warning about the imminent action. On November 9-10, 1938, the Nazis arrested 30,000 Jews and burned 7,500 businesses and 200 synagogues. When the police were unable to find her father, they beat Ilse and her mother and destroyed their home.

Kurt Herman, Kindertransport

Legacy Library: Kurt Herman

Kurt Herman was born in October 1929 in Vienna, Austria. He went to school across the street from his house with Jews and non-Jews and frequently played with his friends after school. After Germany’s annexation of Austria in March 1938, Kurt’s non-Jewish school friends began calling him names and wearing swastikas. The Nazis seized his family’s fabric business and tried to arrest his father multiple times during random house raids by Stormtroopers. After Kristallnacht, the Night of the Broken Glass on November 9-10, 1938, Kurt’s family tried to flee Austria.

Gunter Hauer, Refugee

Legacy Library: Gunter Hauer

Gunter Hauer was born in Berlin, Germany in 1919. His father fought in WWI and earned the Iron Cross and worked at a department store. His mother was a homemaker. In 1929, when Gunter was a teenager, he went to see Adolf Hitler speak at a rally for the Nazi Party and he could not believe what he was hearing. Then in January 1933, Hitler came to power and Gunter’s life began to change. Within a few short years, the Nazis banned him from sitting on a public park bench or going to the movies.

Fernande Davis, Resistor

Legacy Library: Fernande Davis

Fernande Keufgens Davis was 16 years old, one of eight children in a close-knit Belgian family living in the small town of Montzen, when the Germans invaded Belgium in May 1940. Her father remembered the horrors of World War I and, hoping to protect Fernande from deportation, sent her to Andenne to work in the household of a friend. But war exploded nevertheless on their doorstep. “I had all kinds of courage and guts; I don’t know where that came from,” says Fernande Keufgens Davis (“Freddie”) of the risks that she took as a teenager in the Belgian Resistance. After the shock of finding that her formerly occupied village had been annexed as part of Germany, Davis was drafted to work in a German munitions factory. Determined not to aid the enemy, she jumped from the train and went underground, to join the Maquis.

Stella Yollin, Concentration Camp and Ghetto

Stella Lewinsky Yollin was born in 1931 in Tczew, Poland. She had two brothers and her parents owned a small clothing store. In 1938, her family moved to Lodz, Poland. One of her earliest memories was at the school when other boys would taunt and yell at her, “Hey Jew, go back to Palestine!” On September 1, 1939, the Nazis invaded Poland. Her father, being an ex-pilot, was drafted into the Polish air force. Within the week her whole family was forced out of their synagogue, forced out of their businesses, forced to wear yellow armbands, and then yellow Stars of David sewn onto their clothing. In February 1940, while they were living in Lodz, the Nazis formed the ghetto and they were forced to move out of their modest apartment and into an apartment that did not have running water or bathrooms.

Don Greenbaum, Liberator

Legacy Library: Don Greenbaum

Don Greenbaum was born in Philadelphia and was one of three children. His father was a leather manufacturer in the Wynnefield neighborhood. In 1943, Don graduated from a military school in Georgia and joined the American Army. He was 18 years old. He served as a Forward Observer for the 283rd Field Artillery Battalion. On November 9th, 1944 he was wounded in Aachen, Germany and was awarded the Purple Heart. After he was released from the army hospital, he fought in the Battle of the Bulge from December 1944 to January 1945. On April 29th, 1945, Don and other troops from the Third Army were on their way to seize a Germany army supply depot but stumbled across the Dachau concentration camp. They were not prepared for what they witnessed.

Stephen Kates

Legacy Library: Stephen Kates

Biography Coming Soon

Bertha Schwarz, Hidden Child

Legacy Library: Bertha Schwarz

Bertha Schwarz (Nee Teitelbaum) was born in Antwerp, Belgium on January 10th, 1933. She was the eldest of her parent’s Asher and Dora’s three daughters and also lived with her grandparents. Bertha grew up in a Hasidic household and recalls going to synagogue with her father who was the Cantor.

Bertha recalls in the late 1930’s listening to news programs on their family radio. She recalls her mother commenting on the news of what was happening to the Jews in Germany. When the Nazis invaded  Belgium on May of 1940, Bertha and her family fled Antwerp by train. After several days Bertha and her family arrived in the small village of Villemur in Southern France, where they were met by the Red Cross and provided them with an apartment.

Manya Frydman Perel, Concentration Camp and Ghetto

Legacy Library: Manya Perel

Manya Frydman Perel was born in 1924 in Radom, Poland, one of ten children. As a teenager she attended a public school and hoped to go to college. However these plans were obliterated in September 1939 when the Nazi army marched into the city and confiscated homes and businesses, and eventually imprisoned all the Jewish people. In April 1941 the Nazis imprisoned her in the Radom ghetto and then later deported her to several concentration and death camps including Ravensbrück, Plaszow, Rechlin, Gundelsdorf, and Auschwitz.

Bertha recalls in the late 1930’s listening to news programs on their family radio. She recalls her mother commenting on the news of what was happening to the Jews in Germany. When the Nazis invaded  Belgium on May of 1940, Bertha and her family fled Antwerp by train. After several days Bertha and her family arrived in the small village of Villemur in Southern France, where they were met by the Red Cross and provided them with an apartment.