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Oral history interview with Walter Taranowicz

Oral History | Accession Number: 1992.A.0125.135 | RG Number: RG-50.233.0135

Walter Taranowicz, born July 22, 1918 in New York City discusses his parents who were Polish-born Catholics; his father’s American citizenship; how during the Great Depression his father took the family to a ranch they owned in Lublin, Poland; his father’s return to the United States for work and subsequent inability to return to Poland; attending Polish schools in the 1930s; planning to get an European education then returning to the US to become an engineer; the outbreak of war in Poland; the arrival of the Russians and loss of the family farm; the family’s attempt to reach the American Consulate in Warsaw, Poland; staying on the German side of the border; his mother and sister’s deportation to Siberia in 1941; his arrest on January 13, 1940 because the Nazis thought he was an American spy; his brutal treatment by the Nazis; being taken with 5,000 Polish men on trucks to Auschwitz; building Birkenau; working as a cabinet maker, making soldier beds, rifle racks, tables, and benches for German army supplies; volunteering in 1942 to transfer with 4,000 others to Mauthausen, where he worked as a cabinet maker with the camp architect; his liberation on May 5th, 1945 by American forces; being taken to Regensburg, Germany to recover; becoming an interpreter in Italy and being stationed in Verona then Milan for seven months; his transfer to the US in the fall of 1945 on the Marine Falcon; the liberation of his mother and sister from a work camp in Siberia; working as a cabinet maker in New York; marrying his wife Sabina; and details about her life.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Walter Taranowicz
Anthony DiIorio
interview:  1992 April 16
1 sound cassette (90 min.).
Record last modified: 2021-02-16 15:52:23
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