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Oral history interview with Marjorie Butterfield

Oral History | Accession Number: 1990.8.3 | RG Number: RG-50.063.0003

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

Marjorie Butterfield, born in Pittsburgh, PA in 1920, describes her Presbyterian family; being trained as a registered nurse at Sewickley Valley Hospital; enlisting in the army in September 1942; spending five months in Camp Pickett, VA; landing in Liverpool, England on June 6, 1944 and having heard about D-Day while they were still traveling on the ship; the courses the nurses took during their training; how her unit was attached to the 3rd Army; landing on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France on July 31, 1944; setting up behind the front lines in a field hospital and treating only the serious casualties; how there were three platoons with six nurses per platoon and two surgical units with two doctors and two nurses; working 12 hour shifts; reading about the concentration camps before leaving the U.S.; moving into southern Germany, through Nuremburg to Linz, Austria in May 1945; entering Gusen concentration camp; her experiences taking care of the surviving inmates and the high number of deaths; having an interpreter to speak with the patients; how there were a lot of Poles, Jews, and other nationalities in the camp; being in the camp for six weeks; not eating much because she felt guilty; the crematorium and gas chamber in the camp; speaking mainly with the female patients, many of whom were well educated; how a Jewish dentist agreed to provide blood to an SS trooper who need a transfusion; how the people of Linz claimed not to know what was happening in the camp; going to Marienbad, Czechoslovakia (Mariánské Lázně, Czech Republic), where they set up a hospital for the armies of the occupation troops; spending 16 and a half months in Czechoslovakia; the importance of educating people about the Holocaust; not being able to talk about her experiences for over 20 years; how she gained the rank of first lieutenant during the war; reading books about the Holocaust, including The Hiding Place, The Diary of Anne Frank, and Confessions of a German Soldier; a passage from her journal (which she reads out loud); how the nurses were given German lessons; and the women she encountered in the camp.

Interviewee
Marjorie Butterfield
Date
1990 March 13  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
1 videocassette (VHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, acquired from Holocaust Center of the United Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:39:01
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn508026