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Oral history interview with Ellen Marchese

Oral History | RG Number: RG-50.344.0008

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

Ellen Bonnie Marchese, born in Brooklyn, NY in November 29, 1917, describes her Italian immigrant family; graduating high school in 1933; being trained as a nurse at King’s County Hospital; working at several hospitals and medical offices before joining the army in 1944; her experiences in basic training in Atlantic City, NJ; the journey to England on the RMS Queen Elizabeth; conditions in England; going to a hospital in the south of England and treating wounded American soldiers; meeting Garson Kanin while crossing the channel; setting up the tents in Sedan, France; being a psychiatric nurse and treating post traumatic stress; how nobody in her unit was forced to work in the concentration camp and they all did it anyway; how she hates to remember what she saw in Gusen concentration camp; how the camp was filled with Poles, Roma, political prisoners, and Jews; meeting her future husband, Mike, who was an infantry man who helped liberate the camp; treating the survivors by giving out medication and applying new dressings; their Austrian maid; feeling contempt towards the locals; the former inmates she conversed with, including an artist who drew portraits; celebrating V-E day with onion sandwiches; going to France and being infected with scabies; being dusted with DDT; liaisons between the men and women in her unit; getting out of the service around the end of 1945; doing industrial nursing; and her reflections on the Holocaust and present day conflicts.

Interviewee
Ellen Marchese
Interviewer
Neenah Ellis
Date
1995 July 15  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
1 sound cassette (90 min.).