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Oral history interview with Gerald Grossman

Oral History | Accession Number: 1992.A.0125.48 | RG Number: RG-50.233.0048

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

Gerald Grossman, born on December 20, 1923 in Rovno, Poland (Rivne, Ukraine), describes his Jewish parents; his three brothers and one sister; his father’s work as a tailor; attending public school and cheder; attending a specialized ORT school in 1936; speaking Yiddish at home and Ukrainian and Polish elsewhere; the relations between Jews and non-Jews in Rovno; belonging to a religious Zionist organization; discussions in the 1930s about Hitler and the Nazis in Germany; the beginning of the war and the Russian occupation in 1939; living with his family in the nearby town of Abarro; continuing his education in a Russian-controlled school; going to a railroad school in Zdolbunów (Zdolbuniv, Ukraine); graduating in 1941 and working as a locomotive engineer in Kamionka Strumilowa (Kam'ianka Buz'ka, Ukraine); the German invasion in June 1941; traveling by train east during the bombardment; returning to Rovno; being sent to Russia as part of a special reserve transport group for the military; going to Harkov (Kharkiv, Ukraine) in 1941; living in Zagorsk (Sergiev Posad), Russia circa 1942, working on the railroad near Moscow; deserting his railroad job with four Ukrainian men and going to east; the harsh winter and his experiences in Gorki (Nizhniĭ Novgorod), Russia; going through Kuibyshev (Samara), Russia to Tashkent, Uzbekistan; being afflicted with lice and typhoid; living in Tashkent for about nine months working as a machinist; throwing away all his documents and pictures that would identify his real name for fear of being discovered as a deserter; going to Cuzar with his uncle to sign up with the Polish Army to fight the Germans from the English side; being rejected because he was Jewish; going by the name Grisorus; returning to Poland and going to Krakow; not knowing what happened to any of his family; and his efforts to help other survivors find family members.

Interviewee
Gerald Grossman
Interviewer
Anthony DiIorio
Date
1992 March 28  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
2 sound cassettes (90 min.).