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Oral history interview with Helmut Kobler

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

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    Oral history interview with Helmut Kobler


    Interview Summary
    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.
    Helmut Kobler
    Jake Birnberg
    Peggy Coster
    interview:  1992 August 13
    interview:  1992 November 23
    interview:  1993 June 17
    interview:  1993 September 09
    interview:  1993 February 11
    interview:  1994 March 11
    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

    Physical Details

    2 videocassettes (SVHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Personal Name
    Kobler, Helmut.

    Administrative Notes

    The Bay Area Holocaust Oral History Project conducted the interview with Helmut Kobler on August 13, 1992, November 23, 1992, February 11, 1993, June 17, 1993, September 9, 1993, and March 11, 1994. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum received the tapes of the interview from the Bay Area Holocaust Oral History Project in October 2000.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this oral history interview has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2023-11-16 08:43:46
    This page:

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