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Early Survivor Testimonies at Lund University Now Available in English Online

The Department of Collections, Lund University, Sweden, has announced that its archive of about 500 interviews, documentation of personal experiences from concentration camps, prisoners' notebooks, diaries, handmade books for language learning, and translations of the procedures used in the Hamburg Ravensbrück trial in 1946-47 is now available in English translation. In June 1999, as she was writing The Jewish Women of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp (University of Wisconsin Press, 2004), Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel traveled to Lund, Sweden, to visit Zygmunt Lakocinski´s archive at Lund University Library. She investigated the some 500 Polish interviews that Prof. Lakocinski and his volunteer assistants conducted with concentration camp survivors soon after they had been rescued and arrived in Sweden in spring 1945. She also interviewed Birgitta Lindholm, then in charge of the archive. All of the written testimonies had been recorded in Polish, and it was a difficult process to first identify testimonies by Jewish female victims, then verify they had been in Ravensbrück, and finally to have them translated. Now everything is easily accessible.

The purpose of the Polish Research Institute was to collect former inmates' war experiences and, if necessary, verify their stories. At the end of every single interview, you will find a short statement written by the Polish Research Institute's secretary. Tomasz Lesniak, currently in charge of the collection, said that he went through all the documents in the archive and was not able to find similar records provided by other archives. He invites everyone to visit the new website.

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