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Oral history interview with Leon Bass

Oral History | Accession Number: 1993.A.0088.75 | RG Number: RG-50.002.0075

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.

Leon Bass, born in 1925 in Philadelphia, PA, discusses his childhood in Philadelphia; his experiences with racism in the 1930s; his experience as a soldier in an African-American unit during World War II; his time in England in 1943 with General Patton's Third Army, 183rd Engineer Combat Battalion; his participation in the Battle of Bulge; his interaction with white soldiers during World War II; his unit's work putting up bridges and removing land mines in Belgium; his unit's move into Germany; his inability to assess the nature or character of the Germans; his memories of entering Buchenwald concentration camp and seeing "walking dead people"; his memories of entering the crematorium where the bodies were piled up and recollections that the ashes were used for fertilizer; his learning that there were many concentration camps like Buchenwald; his time in the Pacific War Theatre; his enrollment in West Chester State College and his desire to become a history teacher; his experiences with racism after World War II; his involvement in the civil rights movement of the 1960s; his experiences as a principal of two different African-American schools and one all white school; a visit to his school by a Holocaust survivor that led him to talk about the Holocaust publicly; and his reflections on the Holocaust as being a human problem. Also contains a photograph of Leon and another soldier in their army uniforms.

Interviewee
Leon Bass
Interviewer
Bernard Weinstein
Date
1988 March 16  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
2 videocassettes (VHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Holocaust Resource Center of Kean University
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:56:01
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn503075