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Ze'ev Soronowsky papers

 Collection — Multiple Collection Box: [Coll 395] 1
Identifier: Coll 395

Scope and Contents

The autobiographical testimony was written by Soronowsky in Hebrew, in 1997. The text was translated into English, edited, and adapted by his daughter-in-law, Mrs. Sarit (Soronowsky) Ronen. The collection contains a typed copy of the English text.

The autobiography details life from his point of view as the Germans took over Poland and parts of Russia, forced the Jews to live in Ghettos, and then started a campaign of forced removal of Jewish people to concentration camps. He also gives an account of his experiences at the concentration camps, and includes names of people he knew or met while he was imprisoned there.

The collection also contains four photographs of Buchenwald, on the day, or soon after, it was liberated (April 10, 1945), taken by a Soronowsky cousin, Army Captain William Sornoff. Photographs are of Weimar residents being escorted through the camp, bodies and remains of prisoners, and a photo of the Buchenwald crematorium.

There is also a photograph taken in 1982 of Ze'ev Soronowsky with his cousin, Professor William Sarnoff.

There is an accompanying letter (2012) from Professor Sarnoff explaining the contents of the collection.


  • 1922-2012


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Conditions Governing Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

Ze'ev (Wolf-Velvel) Hacohen Soronowsky (1922-2012) was born in a Russian town named Kartuz Bereza, which was under Polish rule at the time of his birth. His mother Duba and his father Aharon came from Ruzhany. He also had two sisters, Breina and Leah. He attended Hebrew school as a child, and was later educated at an institute of commerce and bookkeeping in the town of Grondo. While he was still attending bookkeeping school, the German army invaded Russia.

Saronowsky lived for a time in Ghetto B, then fled on foot to another town, Pruzhany. He was captured by gentiles near the city of Rujanoy and taken to the German command headquarters near there. He was then taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau on January 28, 1943.

While at Auschwitz he learned his mother had been killed and his father captured, but then released.

Saronowsky was transferred in the Spring of 1944 to another camp, Boneh, 10 kilometers from Auschwitz. In January of 1945, he was force-marched to Gleibitz camp, then the Orenburg camp, and lastly the Plosenberg camp. He was then put on a train for the Leonberg camp near Stuttgart. At Leonberg he was shot in the head, but survived. The next morning, April 23rd, 1945, his camp was liberated. He was twenty-three years old.

Soronowsky went on to have a son, Aharon Hacohen (Soronowsky) Ronen. Aharon's wife Sarit Ronen, translated Ze'ev Soronowsky's autobiography into English, and it was an American cousin, William Sarnoff, who donated it to the University of Oregon.

[Source: Autobiography, Ze'ev Saronowsky papers, Coll 395. Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.]


0.025 linear feet (1 container) : 1 folder

Language of Materials



Ze'ev Saronowsky (1922-2012) was a Holocaust survivor, who was imprisoned at Auschwitz-Birkenau, and other labor/death camps during World War II. The collection (1997-2012) contains his autobiography, photographs of Buchenwald, and a photograph of Saronowsky with his cousin, William Sarnoff.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by William Sarnoff, 2012.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Tanya Parlet, June 20, 2013.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

This collection received a basic level of processing including minimal organization and rehousing.

Description information is drawn in part from information supplied with the collection and initial surveys of the contents

Guide to the Ze'ev Soronowsky Papers
Complete Description
Tanya Parlet.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English
Funding for production of this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA