Howard Cwick

Language: English

Howard Cwick was born in the Bronx, New York, on August 25, 1923, to Samuel and Sarah Cwick, both Polish immigrants. Howard had an older sister, Sylvia. The
Cwick family spoke both English and Yiddish, kept a kosher home, and attended synagogue three times a week. Howard went to school at P.S. 100 in the Bronx before
going on to Brooklyn Technical High School. When he was seven years old, Howard received his first camera and became interested in photography.

Howard worked as a machinist before enlisting in the United States Air Force in October 1942. After being injured in the crash of a training flight, he was transferred to the 281st Combat Engineer Battalion at Camp Butner, North Carolina. In November 1944, Howard’s battalion left the United States and landed in England. They spent four months on a military base in Bovey Trace in Devon and then headed to Germany via France. Howard’s unit arrived outside of Weimar around April 10, 1945. Howard was ordered to headquarters for an assignment but unwittingly got into a jeep that instead went to Buchenwald. After he entered the camp, he took photographs of what he saw. By the end of the first day, a detachment of the U.S. armed forces had arrived at Buchenwald. On the second day, while the medics were busy treating survivors, the local citizens were forced to walk through the camp to view what the Nazis had done. Even as the townspeople claimed not to know about activities and conditions in Buchenwald, Howard and fellow soldiers found in the cellars of local homes Red Cross packages intended for camp prisoners. For his part, Howard immediately developed some of his pictures of Buchenwald and sent all the negatives home.

Discharged in 1946, Howard married his wife, Claire, in 1948 and graduated New York University with a master’s degree in education. Claire and Howard had a daughter, Laurie, and a son, Steven. During his career, Howard taught industrial arts at local high schools. Many years after the war, upon hearing students remark that the
Holocaust couldn’t have been as bad as it was being portrayed, Howard began sharing his photos and recollections of Buchenwald. At the time of his interview in 1997, Howard had one grandchild and another on the way.

The interview was conducted on September 16, 1997 in Lake Worth, FL, United States; interviewer: Susan Rosenblum; videographer: Steven Cohen. Howard Cwick passed away on April 25, 2006, at the age of 82.

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World War II Veterans and Liberators

A collection of testimony clips from WWII liberators who served in the United States Armed Forces.

World War II Veterans and Liberators

A collection of testimony clips from WWII liberators who served in the United States Armed Forces.

Leon Adler – Memorial Day

Language: English

Memorial Day in the United States commemorates the men and women who died while in the military service. US army veteran Leon Adler remembers helping mortally wounded soldiers while serving in Germany.

  • Leon Adler – Memorial Day

    Language: English

    Memorial Day in the United States commemorates the men and women who died while in the military service. US army veteran Leon Adler remembers helping mortally wounded soldiers while serving in Germany.

  • Sidney Shafner on his friendship with Jewish survivor Marcel Levy

    Language: English

    WWII liberator Sidney Shafner reflects on his friendship with Holocaust survivor Marcel Levy after the pair met when Dachau was liberated in 1945.

  • Leo Hymas on military combat in Düsseldorf, Germany

    Language: English

    Leo Hymas, United States Armed Forces and Buchenwald camp liberator speaks only for the second time in his life about a particular combat operation in Düsseldorf, Germany. This testimony clip was featured in the lesson, Heroes, from Teaching with Testimony in the 21st Century.

  • Veteran's Day - Kenneth Colvin

    Language: English

    In 1971, Kenneth Colvin, United States Army Veteran was chosen to attend the Liberators Conference in Washington. Colvin describes reuniting with his fellow liberators and how they were still affected by their experienced in World War II.

  • Ralph Leeser remembers entering Hitler’s home

    Language: English

    Ralph Leeser and his family fled to the United States from Nazi Germany in 1939. A few years later he joined the United States armed forces and helped liberate Buchenwald concentration camp. After the liberation Leeser and his fellow soldiers went to Braunau, Austria and entered Hitler's home.

    Instead of serving in the Austrian military for six months, men may intern with Holocaust remembrance organizations abroad - See more at: http://sfi.usc.edu/profiles/manuel-m%C3%BCller#.dpu entered Hitler’s former home in Braunau, Austria in April 1945.
  • Liberator Leon Bass on being inspired by Martin Luther King Jr

    Language: English

    Leon Bass, US military veteran, reflects on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and how he was inspired by King’s message of non-violence. Leon was at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 for the March on Washington and he describes his experience of watching Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream,” speech. 

  • Floyd Dade remembers Jackie Robinson

    Language: English

    Before he made his major league debut in 1947 breaking the color barrier in baseball, Jackie Robinson was standing up to injustice and discrimination. Holocaust camp liberator Floyd Dade remembers when his fellow serviceman, Robinson refused to sit in the back of the bus

  • Martin Becker on Hiroshima

    Language: English

    Martin Becker fled Nazi Germany and immigrated to the United States where he later joined the Armed Forces. He speaks on his deployment to Japan including being stationed in Hiroshima only two weeks after US dropped the atomic bomb in August 1945.

  • Howard Cwick

    Language: English

    Howard Cwick was born in the Bronx, New York, on August 25, 1923, to Samuel and Sarah Cwick, both Polish immigrants. Howard had an older sister, Sylvia. The
    Cwick family spoke both English and Yiddish, kept a kosher home, and attended synagogue three times a week. Howard went to school at P.S. 100 in the Bronx before
    going on to Brooklyn Technical High School. When he was seven years old, Howard received his first camera and became interested in photography.

    Howard worked as a machinist before enlisting in the United States Air Force in October 1942. After being injured in the crash of a training flight, he was transferred to the 281st Combat Engineer Battalion at Camp Butner, North Carolina. In November 1944, Howard’s battalion left the United States and landed in England. They spent four months on a military base in Bovey Trace in Devon and then headed to Germany via France. Howard’s unit arrived outside of Weimar around April 10, 1945. Howard was ordered to headquarters for an assignment but unwittingly got into a jeep that instead went to Buchenwald. After he entered the camp, he took photographs of what he saw. By the end of the first day, a detachment of the U.S. armed forces had arrived at Buchenwald. On the second day, while the medics were busy treating survivors, the local citizens were forced to walk through the camp to view what the Nazis had done. Even as the townspeople claimed not to know about activities and conditions in Buchenwald, Howard and fellow soldiers found in the cellars of local homes Red Cross packages intended for camp prisoners. For his part, Howard immediately developed some of his pictures of Buchenwald and sent all the negatives home.

    Discharged in 1946, Howard married his wife, Claire, in 1948 and graduated New York University with a master’s degree in education. Claire and Howard had a daughter, Laurie, and a son, Steven. During his career, Howard taught industrial arts at local high schools. Many years after the war, upon hearing students remark that the
    Holocaust couldn’t have been as bad as it was being portrayed, Howard began sharing his photos and recollections of Buchenwald. At the time of his interview in 1997, Howard had one grandchild and another on the way.

    The interview was conducted on September 16, 1997 in Lake Worth, FL, United States; interviewer: Susan Rosenblum; videographer: Steven Cohen. Howard Cwick passed away on April 25, 2006, at the age of 82.

  • Felix Flicker on the liberation of Majdanek

    Language: English

    Jewish survivor Felix Flicker joined the Soviet Armed Forces in 1943. Flicker recalls arriving at Majdanek concentration camp after it was liberated in July 1944. He describes the prisoners looking like skeletons and the arrests and executions of the camp guards.

  • Ernest James on the US Capture of Aachen, Germany

    Language: English

    Ernest James speaks of his participation as a United States soldier in the battle for Aachen, Germany, in October 1944. He explains how the United States armed forces surrounded Aachen and forced the German armed forces to surrender. It was October 21, 1944.  

  • Sidney Shafner on his friendship with Jewish survivor Marcel Levy

    Language: English

    WWII liberator Sidney Shafner reflects on his friendship with Holocaust survivor Marcel Levy after the pair met when Dachau was liberated in 1945.

  • Philip Drell on photographing Dachau after liberation

    Language: English

    Philip Drell, a photographer with the U.S. Army Signal Corps, served with the Special Motion Picture Coverage Unit headed by film director George Stevens. In his testimony, Philip describes what he witnessed when his unit arrived at Dachau. His testimony is featured in Testimony –The Legacy of Schindler’s List and the USC Shoah Foundation.

     

  • Barton Nagata on racism in the United States

    Language: English

    Dachau camp liberator Barton Nagata talks about his exposure to racism in the segregated South of the United States.

  • Don Shimazu Remembers the Attack on Pearl Harbor

    Language: English

    United States army veteran Don Shimazu remembers the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor December 7 1941. He was a part of the ROTC (Reserve Officers' Training Corps) at the University of Hawaii and remembers being put on duty right away.  A Hawaiian native, he also reflects on the tension the attack created in his family, since his parents were Japanese citizens.

  • Paul Parks on racial discrimination

    Language: English

    Dachau camp liberator Paul Parks recalls experiencing racial discrimination in the United States after returning home from fighting in WWII.    

  • Jules Barrash Remembers Christmas in France during WWII

    Language: English

    While deployed in France, US armed forces liberator Jules Barrash remembers asking a French farm couple to cook him and a group of about 15 soldiers a dinner for Christmas in exchange for sea rations and food from the army.

  • Ralph Leeser remembers entering Hitler’s home

    Language: English

    Ralph Leeser and his family fled to the United States from Nazi Germany in 1939. A few years later he joined the United States armed forces and helped liberate Buchenwald concentration camp. After the liberation Leeser and his fellow soldiers went to Braunau, Austria and entered Hitler's home.

    Instead of serving in the Austrian military for six months, men may intern with Holocaust remembrance organizations abroad - See more at: http://sfi.usc.edu/profiles/manuel-m%C3%BCller#.dpu entered Hitler’s former home in Braunau, Austria in April 1945.
  • Kurt Klein

    Language: English

    Kurt describes liberating survivors of a death march in May 1945, in Volary, Czechoslovakia, including his first encounter with his future wife, Gerda. Kurt Klein was born July 2, 1920, in Walldorf, Germany. As the Nazi persecution of German Jews intensified, Kurt’s parents decided to send him and his siblings to live with distant relatives in Buffalo, New York, where he worked in various jobs, including the printing business, trying to raise enough money to bring his parents to the United States. Kurt was drafted into the United States Army in 1943. After participating in the Normandy campaign in 1944, Kurt served as a prisoner-of-war interrogator. While in Czechoslovakia, Kurt met his future wife, survivor Gerda Weissmann. At the end of his service toward the end of 1945, Kurt proposed to Gerda before returning to the printing business in Buffalo. A year later in August 1946, Kurt and Gerda married in Paris and then settled in Buffalo. During the war, Kurt's parents were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where they perished. At the time of Kurt’s interview in 1995, he and Gerda had three children and eight grandchildren, and were living in Scottsdale, Arizona. Kurt’s unique point of view is that of both a survivor and a liberator.

  • Brendon Phibbs on the end of WWII in Europe

    Language: English

    Brendon Phibbs, US Army liberator, remembers hearing the news that Germany surrendered and war in Europe ended on May 7, 1945.

Theoneste Karenzi on Justice and Denial

Language: English

Theoneste Karenzi addresses concerns about justice and shame for genocide perpetrators, and responds to Genocide against the Tutsi deniers.

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Meet Karen Haynie

Wed, 05/25/2016 - 5:00pm -- robin.migdol

Impact in Profile

Chicago middle school teacher Karen Haynie piloted a new IWitness activity and went one step further by designing her own lesson to help stduents answer their questions about the Holocaust in IWitness.

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Impact in Profile:

Ten years ago, Karen Haynie brought testimony from USC Shoah Foundation into her classroom by having her students gather around a single computer to watch the videos.

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