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Oral history interview with Hilbert Margol

Oral History | Accession Number: 2015.396.1 | RG Number: RG-50.030.0844

Hilbert Margol, born February 22, 1924 in Jacksonville, Florida, describes his identical twin Howard as well as his older brother Melvin and sister Bernice; his parents who emigrated from Lithuania and married in the US; living in a Jewish neighborhood and attending a public school; his father’s correspondence with his sister in Lithuania until the letters stopped once the war began; graduating high school along with his twin brother in June 1942 and entering the University of Florida and the ROTC program; the activation of their reserve unit on April 3, 1943; going to Camp Blanding, FL for indoctrination and then to Ft. Bragg, NC for basic training; joining the Army STP (Specialized Training Program) which sent them to the Citadel in South Carolina and then Syracuse University to study engineering; being transferred in January 1944 to the University of Illinois in Champlain; being split up from his brother in April 1944 when Howard was sent to the 104th Infantry Division in the Mohave Desert and Hilbert was sent to the 42nd Rainbow Division at Camp Gruber, OK; training on the M1 rifle and qualifying as an expert marksman; being transferred to the 392nd Field Artillery Battalion; the process for getting Howard approved to transfer to Hilbert’s unit in the summer of 1944; traveling on a troop ship to Marseilles and life during the 15-day journey; being gunners in their first combat position near Strasburg; the Battle of Wurzburg, after which they arrived in Schweinfurt before going to Nuremberg; being ordered to secure Schweinfurt; going towards Munich on April 29, 1945 and being ordered to pull off to the right side of the road in a wooded area at one point; smelling a strong odor and finding boxcars with corpses inside; the photographs Howard took of the inside of the boxcars; seeing the main part of Dachau concentration camp briefly; the end of the war and working a detail in Salzburg; his roommate’s antisemitic comments; returning to the US; finishing college and opening a business with Howard; and traveling to Munich in 2015 for the opening of the new museum and meeting some survivors of Dachau.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Hilbert Margol
Ina Navazelskis
interview:  2015 October 20
1 digital file : MPEG-4.
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:37:48
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