Charles Kaufman Testimony, 1942-1945

Overview of the Collection

Kaufman, Kopel (Charles), 1907-1992; ; Rose, Nicole, 1942-; ; Rose, Alan
Charles Kaufman Testimony
1942-1945 (inclusive)
0.25 cubic feet
Collection Number
MG 5757
Testimony by Charles Kaufman of his incarceration in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp from 1942 to 1945, and supplemental materials.
University of Idaho Library, Special Collections and Archives
Special Collections and Archives
University of Idaho Library
875 Perimeter Drive
MS 2350
Moscow, ID
Telephone: 2088850845
Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

English, French, Yiddish

Historical NoteReturn to Top

Auschwitz-Birkenau was a complex of concentration camps near the Polish city of Oswiecim established by Nazi Germany. The complex included three main camps: Auschwitz I, established in May 1940; Auschwitz II (also called Auschwitz-Birkenau) in early 1942; and Auschwitz III (also called Auschwitz-Monowitz). Prisoners incarcerated in the camps were forced to work under inhuman conditions, and the vast majority of them died of starvation or sickness. Nazi officials operated one camp as a killing center. (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Web site accessed July 16, 2013.)

Charles Kopel Kaufman was born in Busko Zdrój, Poland on October 10, 1907. He immigrated to Paris, France in the early 1930s and married Malka Madeleine Frenkiel, who also had been born in Poland, on December 12, 1940. On August 20, 1941, French police arrested Kaufman in Paris and held him in the Drancy internment camp until June 22, 1942, when he was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Kaufman's wife was later arrested and deported to Auschwitz where she died on October 21, 1942.

On October 28, 1944, Kaufman and other prisoners left Auschwitz on a forced "death" march, and after enduring several camps, arrived at Buchberg, a sub-camp of the Dachau concentration camp. On May 1, 1945, soldiers of the U.S. Army's 42nd Infantry Division liberated the Buchberg camp, and Kaufman returned to Paris. Sometime after his liberation, Kaufman documented his experiences in four notebooks he wrote by hand in Yiddish. He grew up speaking both Yiddish and Polish.

Kaufman's adopted daughter, Nicole Rose of Moscow, Idaho, conserved the notebooks. In 2008, Yoseph Yahalom of Israel translated the notebooks into Hebrew, and in 2011, Devora Borik of Austin, Texas translated the Hebrew version into English. In 2012, Alan Rose, Nicole's husband, reviewed and made minor changes in the English version; that same year, Nicole Rose donated the original notebooks to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection consists of a manuscript bound with a plastic spiral and four loose supplemental pages. The manuscript includes an English translation of four notebooks Charles Kaufman wrote in Yiddish shortly after the end of World War II; a foreword and translation note written by Kaufman's adopted daughter, Nicole Finkielsztejn-Kaufman Rose and her husband, Alan Rose; copies of Kaufman's personal documents; copies of photographs of members of the Kaufman and Finkielsztejn families; and an appendix with information about the family of Nicole Rose. Nicole Rose signed the manuscript.

Two of the four loose pages are computer print-outs, and the other two are photocopies of scans of original notebook pages. Printed on one of the print-outs is a poem written by Alan Rose, Professor Emeritus, University of Idaho; the title of the English version is "Idaho Remembers," and the title of the original French version is "L'IDAHO S'EN SOUVIENT." Printed on the other print-out a note from the editor.

In 2021, two print outs of extracts from a manuscript of Wulf Finkielsztejn last letter to his daughter, Nicole, before he was deported to Auschwitz were added. Finkielsztejn was Nicoles' biological father and did not survive the war.

The testimony has been digitized and is available on the Idaho Harvester.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

[Description of Item], Charles Kaufman Testimony, MG 5757. Special Collections and Archives, University of Idaho Library, Moscow, Idaho.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Acquisition Information

Mr. Kaufman's adopted daughter, Nicole Rose, donated the manuscript and supplemental pages to the University of Idaho Library in July 2013. More supplemental materials were added in May 2021 (MA 2021-18).

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Holocaust survivors
  • Holocaust survivors' writings
  • Holocaust survivors--Biography
  • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)
  • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Personal narratives