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Oral history interview with Ruth Kirby

Oral History | RG Number: RG-50.344.0001

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

Ruth Eberly Kirby, born Glen Ridge, NJ, describes growing up in West Hallwell, NJ and her reasons for becoming a nurse; graduating from nurse train in 1943; being motivated by the Pearl Harbor attack to join the Army and being inducted in 1944; sailing on the RMS Queen Elizabeth; arriving in Southampton, England; nursing the American soldiers who fought in the Battle of the Bulge; being a part of the 131st Evacuation Hospital, a semi-mobile unit, and eventually joining General Patton’s army (Third Army); crossing the English channel to France in March of 1945; going to Germany; how the unit was comprised of 40 nurses and 40 officers, who were mainly were from the eastern seaboard, and about 206 enlisted men, who were primarily from Oklahoma; going from Germany to Austria after the war had ended and seeing all the white flags in the villages; going to a concentration camp outside of Linz, Austria (Mauthausen concentration camp); smelling the camp before arriving; covering their hair and being sprayed with DDT before entering the camp; the conditions of the male camp survivors; treating the survivors with sulfa drugs, which many of the patients could not swallow; how many of the patients died; seeing mass graves; writing to her mother about her experiences and how she still has the letters; how her experience effected her; and telling her children about her experience.

Interviewee
Ruth Kirby
Interviewer
Neenah Ellis
Date
1995 July 14  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
1 sound cassette (90 min.).