Svalava (Czechoslovakia), Tacevo, Auschwitz, Farleslaben, Salzwedel
Bohm is the only survivor of a family consisting of approximately fifteen members. Born in the small Czech city of Svalava in 1928, Bohm experienced the chaotic overthrow of one government followed by the next. The Ukrainians took over the Czech Republic in 1938 followed by the Hungarians six months later. By the time the Nazis arrived, she recalls how an entire family was forced to live in one room of their house in order to accommodate the Nazis.
Bohm was eventually deported and forced into a cattle car with 120 to 150 other people. As there was no room to sit, her father managed to wedge a board between two windows so that the children could avoid injury. Upon arrival in Auschwitz, Bohm managed to survive the selection process.
Bohm describes in detail the gruesome conditions of the camps. She recalls seven people sleeping in each bed and how the boards dug into their skin. In addition she gives an account of how one girl, struggling to retrieve a piece of bread that had fallen under the fence, and was electrocuted.
Bohm considered herself lucky to have been selected for work during her time in the camps. She was one of five selected to paint and received a more adequate food supply as well as regular baths.
She vividly remembers when Auschwitz was liberated. By the time the Americans had arrived most of the Germans had escaped. She recalls that the remaining Germans were forced to clean up the camp.
Although Bohm intended on settling in Israel, she immigrated to the United States. She notes in the interview that she was only able to share her experiences with her children for the first time a few years ago and had recurring nightmares until about 1965.
Date: May 17, 1993
Length: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Interviewer: Rabbi Charles Rosenzveig
Format: Video recording