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Oral history interview with Helmut Kobler

Oral History | Accession Number: 1999.A.0122.91 | RG Number: RG-50.477.0091

Helmut Kobler, born on January 18, 1928 in Vienna, Austria, discusses his childhood in Vienna and Pohorelice, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic); his experiences growing up with his Jewish father and Catholic mother; his experiences after the annexation of the Sudetenland in 1938; his mother's decision to move herself and her son to Brno, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic); the conditions they lived under; the Nazis' search for his father; being deported to a camp near Ivancice, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic) in 1939; the camp’s transformation from a concentration camp to a forced labor camp; working as a coal miner at the camp; the camp’s liquidation in June 1942; being transferred to another labor camp near Oslavany, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic); the work he continued as a coal miner; the conditions at the camp; the brutality of the Czech and German guards; being transferred in the summer of 1944 to a labor camp near Postoloprty, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic); working to construct an underground fuel pipeline; an accusation against him of sabotage; his subsequent imprisonment in Saaz, Czechoslovakia and Karlsbad, Germany (now Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic); the brutality of the guards; the poor conditions there; his escape from Karlsbad while out on a labor detail; being recaptured in Brno; the executions he witnessed while imprisoned there; being transferred by cattle car to a prison in Mirosov; escaping from Mirosov in May 1945, a few days before liberation by the United States Army; the aid he received from refugee organizations after the war; reuniting with his mother; being educated as a mining engineer; defecting to the west with a sample of uranium ore; moving to Canada; and immigrating to the United States.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Kobler, Helmut
Birnberg, Jake
Coster, Peggy
interview:  1992 August 13
interview:  1992 November 23
interview:  1993 June 17
interview:  1993 September 09
interview:  1993 February 11
interview:  1994 March 11
2 videocassettes (SVHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Jewish Family and Children's Services of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 20:13:10
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