St. Louis’ remarkable stories from the Holocaust: Leon Bergman


Since 1979, Vida “Sister” Goldman Prince has been Chairman of the Oral Histories Project, at the St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum. The project is dedicated to recording and preserving audio interviews of not only Holocaust Survivors, but also liberators of Nazi concentration camps and other non-Jewish witnesses living in Europe during World War II.

The museum was one of the first to begin gathering oral history projects so  these voices and photographs will be displayed and future generations will continue to be witnesses to this catastrophic period of world history.

In partnership with the Jewish Light, The St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum is allowing us to republish a portion of these Oral Histories project as a celebration of life and a crucial part of honoring and remembering the past. Please follow the provided links to additional recordings.

A Brief Bio

Leon Bergman was born on February 27, 1912 in Skarzysko-Kamienna, which is located south of Radom, Poland. He grew up in an Orthodox home believing in Kashrut, Jewish tradition and law. He attended a Polish public school from the age of seven to fourteen. He was in the Polish Army for two years and then returned home and studied tailoring.

The Germans came in 1939. Leon’s mother told him “to stay with the family and do what I was doing.” The family was in the ghetto in their town until 1942. Leon was sent to a munitions factory where he worked as a slave laborer until he was sent to Buchenwald in 1944. In 1942, his family was deported to Treblinka, a death camp.

The Russian army was getting closer and Leon was then forced to go on a death march to Theresienstadt, a concentration camp northwest of Prague, Czechoslovakia. He was liberated there on May 8, 1945 by the Russian army.

Listen to Tape 1 / Side 1 of Leon’s Oral History

Click here to listen to the additional taped recordings of Leon’s Oral History

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To view the full St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum Oral Histories archive, click here.