On June 22, 1941, Adolf Hitler unleashed Operation Barbarossa, the largest land invasion in history. Intent on destroying the Soviet Union, over 3 million German soldiers streamed through eastern Poland, the Baltic states and into the Soviet Union itself. By the time the Soviet Army had retreated, retrenched and retook their lands, millions of Soviet soldiers and civilians would perish and tens of thousands of villages and towns burned to the ground.
But of all those who suffered horribly, it was the Jewish population that was hunted down, shoved into ghettos and marched into forests or next to ravines--and shot. More would die in labor brigades and in death camps. All told, some two million Jews were murdered on Soviet territory. In this pilot episode of CENTROPA STORIES, three of our interviewees tell us how they managed to escape when the Germans came barrelling toward them. And they will tell you about how they put their lives together after the war. Visit us at www.centropa.org to find more than 1,200 oral history interviews--and 25,000 annotated family pictures--all belonging to those Jews who remained, and survived, in Central and Eastern Europe.
Narrated by Allan Corduner, David Horovitch and Sara Kestelman in London. Produced by Patrick Schmid in Vienna. Stories adapted Edward Serotta.
Be sure to listen to our interview with historian Wendy Goldman in bonus material. https://podcast.centropa.org