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Oral history interview with Frank Engelsmann

Oral History | Accession Number: 2018.145.1 | RG Number: RG-50.106.0267

Frank (Franticek) Engelsmann, born on March 1, 1922 in Nové Mesto nad Váhom, Czechoslovakia (now in Slovakia), discusses his childhood; being the youngest of three girls and four boys; his father Samuel, who owned a restaurant, and his mother Gerte, who worked in the kitchen; attending a Jewish elementary school and then a Gymnasium for eight years; interacting with non-Jewish students; enjoying reading and playing tennis; his close family observing Jewish holidays; having a bar mitzvah; not experiencing any antisemitism until his family was forced to close their restaurant; working along with his brothers on a farm to get food; moving in 1942 to Debrecen, Hungary to live with his sister and her husband; earning money by tutoring students; learning Hungarian in two months; pretending to be a university student; staying with the Biro family for several months and using a Hungarian name; being captured in 1944 and put in prison and then sent to Mauthausen, where he worked in the kitchen peeling potatoes; being considered a Hungarian Jew; giving food to other prisoners; his parents and two sisters being sent to a concentration camp; being liberated on May 5, 1945 by American soldiers in tanks; going to Prague, Czech Republic; studying history and philosophy at Charles University (Univerzita Karlova) and earning a doctorate in 1948; marrying Hannah, a Gymnasium teacher, who had survived Theresienstadt with her parents; being a clinical psychologist at the Institute of Bohnice using the Rorschach Test when seeing patients; publishing two books on using statistics in studying mental hygiene; moving in 1967 to Geneva, Switzerland to work for the World Health Organization studying schizophrenia; going to McGill University in Montreal, Canada in 1968 to see patients and to teach; becoming professor emeritus; visiting the US; trying to avoid thinking about the war; feeling that the Germans made a great mistake and suffered for it; and his feeling that mankind is not perfect and his hope that there will be peace in 1000 years.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Frank Engelsmann
Gail Schwartz
interview:  2018 April 22
creation: Potomac (Md.)
1 digital file : WAV.
Record last modified: 2020-08-03 11:26:23
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