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Oral history interview with Joseph Bolinsky

Oral History | Accession Number: 1990.338.4 | RG Number: RG-50.037.0004

Professor Joseph Bolinsky, a sculptor at the State University College in Buffalo, NY, describes serving in the army from 1943 to 1946; being in France, Germany, and Czechoslovakia for about a year and a half; meeting a group of Jewish refugees in Pilsen, Poland; being a combat engineer in the army; his duties included building or destroying bridges or digging up mine fields; knowing of concentration camps but not liberating any; finding distant relatives in one of the camps; being stationed in Ansbach, Germany in the fall of 1945 and helping in a nearby camp operated by the UNRRA; the camp providing medical and psychiatric help, food, and education for young Jews; learning the story of one juvenile refugee who fought with the partisans (Mr. Bolinsky also shows a number of photographs of the children and also of a synagogue in Ansbach); a trip to Nuremberg, Germany and a session of the trials when Goering was on the stand; going to Munich, Germany, where he tried to help people by directing them to appropriate assistance organizations; his shock over the destruction in Germany; his interactions with various German civilians; an incident at the UNRRA camp when one night a group of perhaps 50 refugee children arrived and were not admitted at first until the staff and soldiers wrested the key from the supervisors and opened the gate; returning to the United States; getting married and having four children; living in Rome, Italy from 1962 to 1964; visiting Israel several times and meeting people from his mother’s Polish village; learning more about the Holocaust from survivors in Israel; and wishing he could have done more.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Joseph Bolinsky
Mrs. Toby Back
interview:  1990 July
1 videocassette (VHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:35:02
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