Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Bella Camhi - November 18, 1999


An interview with Bella Camhi, a Holocaust survivor, conducted by Dr. Sidney Bolkosky, Professor of History at the University of Michigan--Dearborn. Bella Camhi was born in Salonika, Greece, ca. 1925. Following the German occupation of Greece, Bella, along with her mother, father and three sisters, was placed in the Salonika Ghetto. In 1943, the family was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau where everyone, except Bella and another sister, was gassed on arrival. Bella was assigned to work in the "Kanada Kommando" and her younger sister was placed in the "Kinderblock," from where she was later sent to the gas chambers. Sometime in 1944, Bella was moved out of Auschwitz-Birkenau, loaded onto a wagon and later abandoned in an empty field. After being liberated, Bella walked to Munich, Germany. She later returned to Salonika and finally immigrated to the United States sometime in the early 1950s.

Link to Portraits of Honor Project

  1. Introduction
  2. Pre-War Religious Life
  3. Languages
  4. Jewish Population of Salonika
  5. Size of Family
  6. Salonika
  7. Childhood Memories
  8. Religious Holidays
  9. Outbreak of War
  10. Outbreak of War (Continued)
  11. German Occupation of Salonika
  12. Salonika During the Depression
  13. Knowledge of Germans
  14. Conditions Under Germans
  15. Conditions Under Germans (Continued)
  16. German Soldier
  17. Resistance
  18. Resistance (Continued)
  19. Round-Ups
  20. Jewish Cemetery in Salonika
  21. Synagogues in Salonika
  22. Judenrat in Salonika
  23. Deportation to Auschwitz-Birkenau
  24. Conditions on Train
  25. Conditions on Train (Continued)
  26. Arrival at Auschwitz-Birkenau
  27. Tattooed
  28. Conditions in Birkenau
  29. Liquidation of Ziguenerlager (Gypsy Camp)
  30. Death of Family
  31. Death of Sister
  32. Saved from Selektion
  33. "Organizing"
  34. Smell of Camp
  35. Sexual Encounters in Camp
  36. Attempts to Escape
  37. Attempts to Escape (Continued)
  38. Evacuation from Birkenau
  39. Liberation
  40. Experiences with Russians
  41. Hiding West
  42. The Bridge
  43. Munich
  44. Conditions in Munich
  45. Getting Married
  46. Return to Salonika
  47. Conditions in Salonika
  48. Post War Religious Beliefs
  49. Pre-War Memories
  50. "Being Jewish"
  51. Reminders
  52. Nightmares
  53. Talking About Experiences
  54. Children
  55. Reaction To Schindler's List
  56. Conclusion

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