Those Who Were There: Voices from the Holocaust

Those Who Were There: Voices from the Holocaust is the only podcast dedicated to sharing the history of the Holocaust through the first-hand testimonies of survivors and witnesses.

The podcast draws on recorded interviews from Yale University’s Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, which comprises the oral histories of over 4,000 people.

It took incredible courage for these individuals to revisit their memories of Nazi-occupied Europe and provide testimony to the Fortunoff Video Archive; it is our duty to listen and share, so that the horrific events of the Holocaust do not fade from memory.

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Testimony taping of Pierre T. (HVT-836) in 1987
Testimony taping of Pierre T. (HVT-836) in 1987.


Series Introduction

Meet host Eleanor Reissa and hear excerpts of upcoming episodes featuring first-hand accounts of the Holocaust—drawn from the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale University.
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Episode 1 — Martin Schiller

As a little boy, Martin Schiller was sent to a slave labor camp in Poland along with his family. Separated from his mother, Martin never lost hope of being reunited with her after liberation.
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Episode 2 — Leon Bass

Leon Bass faced racism growing up in Philadelphia, confronted it in the Army, and discovered its “ultimate” endpoint at a German concentration camp called Buchenwald.
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Episode 3 — Heda Kovaly

When Heda Kovaly was deported from Prague to the Lodz ghetto, along with thousands of other Jews, she never imagined that of her entire extended family, only she and her husband would return alive.
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Episode 4 — Sally Horwitz

After liberation from a slave labor camp, Sally Finkelstein Horwitz and her sister returned to Poland where anti-Jewish pogroms forced them to seek refuge in Germany.
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Episode 5 — Arne B. Lie

Eighteen-year-old Arne Brun Lie answered the patriotic call to join the Norwegian resistance. But instead of fighting for his nation’s freedom, he found himself in the hands of the Nazis, fighting for his life.
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Episode 6 — Renee Hartman

Renee Hartman was just a child when the Nazis swept into Czechoslovakia. Her parents and sister were deaf, so she became her family’s ears, alert to the sound of the Gestapo’s boots.
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Episode 7 — Leonard Linton

Leonard Linton’s story spans half the globe—from Japan to Germany, France, New York, and back to Germany, where as a 23-year-old U.S. soldier he happened upon a concentration camp called Woebbelin.
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Episode 8 — Celia Kassow — Part 1

When Nazi bombs fell from the sky, Celia Kassow fled her Polish boarding school and sought help from a classmate who lived nearby. The response? “Get away from here, you dirty Jew.”
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Episode 9 — Celia Kassow — Part 2

When Nazi troops seized the Polish farm where Celia Kassow was in hiding, she fled once again—this time into the forest, where she joined the Soviet partisans.
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Episode 10 — Sam Kassow

In October 1945, Celia Kassow gave birth to her son Sam in a German displaced persons camp. Seventy-five years later, Sam Kassow reflects on his mother’s life and an astonishing journey of discovery to his mother’s hometown in Eastern Europe.
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Meet Our Production Team

Eric Marcus


Eric Marcus is the co-producer of “Those Who Were There.” He is also founder and host of the award-winning “Making Gay History” podcast, which mines his decades-old audio archive of rare interviews. He conducted these interviews for his oral history book of the same name about the LGBTQ civil rights movement to create intimate, personal portraits of both known and long-forgotten champions, heroes, and witnesses to history. Eric’s other books include Is It a Choice?, Why Suicide?, and Breaking the Surface, the #1 New York Times bestselling autobiography of Olympic diving champion Greg Louganis.

Stephen Naron


Stephen Naron has worked as an archivist/librarian since 2003, when he received his MSIS from the University of Texas, Austin. He pursued a Magister in Jewish studies and History at the Freie Universität Berlin and the Zentrum für Antisemistismusforschung at TU Berlin. He has a BA in history from the University of Kansas. As the director of the Fortunoff Video Archive, Stephen works within the wider research community to share access to our collection through the access site program and online consortia programs, as well as by presenting at conferences, symposiums, and sessions of Yale University classes. Stephen is also responsible for spearheading initiatives such as the digital preservation of the collection and the development of a modern access system for the archive’s materials.

Nahanni Rous


Nahanni Rous is the co-producer of “Those Who Were There.” She is also the host and producer of “Can We Talk?,” the podcast of the Jewish Women’s Archive. “Can We Talk?” explores the intersection of gender, Jewish culture, and history. Nahanni was also a founding staff member of the media organization Just Vision, which highlights the grassroots efforts of Palestinian and Israeli peacebuilders and nonviolence activists. She was a producer of Just Vision’s documentary film, Encounter Point.

Eleanor Reissa


Eleanor Reissa is a Tony-nominated director, international concert artist, award-winning playwright, and Broadway actor whose work lives happily in both English and Yiddish. Her recent work includes co-creating, directing, and performing in From Shtetl to Stage, a celebration of Eastern European immigration to the United States as part of Carnegie Hall’s “Migrations” series. As an actress, her most recent credits include roles in HBO’s upcoming miniseries The Plot Against America, based on Philip Roth’s novel, and Paula Vogel’s Indecent on Broadway, as well as the role of Dr. Gorgeous in Wendy Wasserstein’s The Sisters Rosensweig. She performed her new program “Kurt Weill in New York” at the Kurt Weill Festival in Dessau, Germany. She is also awaiting publication of a memoir titled The Letters Project about an eye-opening trip to Germany during which she learned everything she might have wanted to know about the Holocaust and more. In the spring of 2020, she will direct Paddy Chayefsky’s The Tenth Man, which she co-translated into Yiddish, for the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene. Eleanor is the daughter of Holocaust survivors.