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Oral history interview with William Loew

Oral History | RG Number: RG-50.549.01.0006

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

William Loew discusses being captured at age 17 as he tried to flee from Hungary to Romania; entering Auschwitz as an orchestra played a march; being imprisoned in Auschwitz and Flossenbürg camps from October 1944 to April 1945; receiving the number 193229 because the SS believed he had special information and marked him as someone to be preserved for later questioning; reuniting with his hometown doctor in the Auschwitz clinic; witnessing the public hanging of five Polish prisoners who attempted to escape Auschwitz in December 1944; feeling a loss of hope upon hearing the news of President Roosevelt’s death in April 1945; his liberation by American troops while on a forced march from Flossenbürg to Dachau; feeling that he was in a “no man’s land” in which he was free, but had to reconstruct his life; traveling to Bamberg, Germany with American soldiers as an interpreter; discovering he had tuberculosis and staying for over a year at a sanatorium in Gauting (near Munich); taking high school courses to further his education and attending Technische Hochschule in Munich; taking courses on a subsidy from the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRA); serving as an interpreter for displaced persons seeking to enter the United States; helping a Jewish family that could not meet the literacy requirement by using a Hebrew prayer book and letting the man recite a prayer so it appeared as though he was reading; moving to New York in 1949 and staying with a family in Roselle, NJ; working for the American Company for Electronics, installing antennas and repairing televisions; attending the New York College of Engineering and receiving a degree in 1955; working for General Instrument in engineering applications until 1960; moving to Philadelphia, PA and then to St. Louis, MO; designing fire control systems for B-58 airplanes at Emerson Electric until 1962; working for the Mallory Company in Indianapolis and marrying his wife Lois, a psychologist, in 1962; working for the Food and Drug Administration researching the emissions of x-rays from cathode ray tubes in televisions and the engineering of medical devices from 1975 until 1990; starting a vineyard in Fredrick County, NJ in 1982, making honey wine as his family did in Poland; sharing very little of his experience with his children or grandchildren; feeling regret and sorrow that his brothers and mother did not survive; experiencing nightmares and flashbacks; feeling that his character has been primarily shaped by his family and upbringing, not his Holocaust experience; and feeling that survivors are more driven to succeed and work hard to have a good life.

Interviewee
William Loew
Date
1995 December 01  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
4 sound cassettes (60 min.).