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Rachel Deblinger, Author

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Irene Guttman: Video Testimony

Irene tells her own story
Many years after serving as a representative for all child survivors and "war orphans," Irene decided to speak about her experiences on her own terms. She has been an active speaker in schools and synagogues throughout New York area for many years and has recorded multiple testimony accounts. In 1992, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum recorded an audio testimony of Irene and her brother, Rene. The audio is available online at the USHMM website >

Video testimony @USHMM
In 1995, Irene recorded an additional audio testimony by herself and a video testimony with Rene. The video testimony adds detail to their story as well as visual cues to their emotional expression of these memories. Irene and Rene discuss their memories of their parents, Auschwitz, and their reunion in New York in 1950. Since they are both in the visual frame of the testimony, their account feels more casual and conversational than many formal Holocaust survivor testimonies.  They reflect on their lives and surprise each other with memories that had not previously shared. The testimony is available for view here and opens up the story of the little girl from Life magazine.

Memories of Life magazine
Of particular interest: Irene discusses her trip to America in 1947 and recalls being shy and unhappy at her fate, since she had wanted to stay with a friend at the French orphanage and hoped to go to Israel. Although she remembers her initial discomfort with her new life, Irene has chosen to once again become a representative of Holocaust survivors, speaking about her own personal experience to schools and in a recent documentary.

Continued public storyteller
More recently, Irene was interviewed by WBUR in Boston and the video interview is available here. This video has been edited to highlight particular elements of a recognizable Holocaust story.
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