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Oral history interview with Arthur F. Peternel

Oral History | Digitized | Accession Number: 1990.8.24 | RG Number: RG-50.063.0024

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    Oral history interview with Arthur F. Peternel


    Interview Summary
    Arthur Peternel, born in 1915, describes his Yugoslavian parents and nine siblings; being raised Roman Catholic; his father’s involvement with the coal miner’s union and the local government; attending public school in Wilcox, PA; being 24 when the war started and joining the army; being assigned duties with a construction battalion; being transferred to the Air Force as a construction engineer; designing and constructing airfields; volunteering in the ground force as a combat engineer; going to basic training in Louisiana, Air Force training in Santa Rosa and March Field, CA, and officers candidate school at Fort Belvoir, VA; getting information from the radio and newspapers; how his first cousins in Slovenia were executed for resisting the Nazis; landing in Europe in 1943; his unit’s daring activity in Cassino, Italy, which won them a presidential citation; his role as a combat engineer, serving the 5th and 7th Army; receiving amphibious invasion training south of Naples; being in charge of underwater demolition; the route the 7th Army took through France; landing in Saint-Raphaël, France, where they encountered resistance; arriving in Germany during the winter of 1944-1945; the Jewish sergeants in his unit and the Holocaust experiences of their family in Europe; coming across Dachau a day after it was liberated; photographs he has from when he entered the camp (he shows this images during the recording); conditions in the camp; seeing the prison guards who had been killed by the inmates; the crematorium; seeing piles of bodies and clothing as well as urns of ashes; speaking with a local German girl who thought the camp was for prisoners-of-war; his shock and horror at the concentration camp; and his view of the role of the U.S. in the world.
    Arthur F. Peternel
    interview:  1989 September 14

    Physical Details

    1 videocassette (VHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Personal Name
    Peternel, Arthur F.

    Administrative Notes

    The Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh conducted the interview with Arthur F. Peternel on September 14, 1989. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum received the tape of the interview from the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh on January 9, 1990.
    Record last modified:
    2023-11-16 08:10:31
    This page:

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