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Oral history interview with Oscar Trief

Oral History | Accession Number: 2019.124.1 | RG Number: RG-90.061.0001

Dr. Oscar Trief, born on June 17, 1910, describes his life growing up in Tarnopol, Poland (now Ternopil', Ukraine); being one of eight children of Hanoch and Miriam Trief; being raised in a Hasidic household; being active in Zionist youth organizations; going to Reims, France, for his pre-medical studies in 1930; going to Nancy, France, for medical school in 1933; continuing his Zionist activities; being the vice president of L’Association Etudiants Juif (Association of Jewish Students); returning to Poland and being shocked at his parents’ poverty due to the depression; getting married to Bertha Katz; the birth of their son, Marek, in September 1939; the Russian occupation on September 17, 1939; moving with his family to the shtetl Strusow; being permitted to practice medicine; supervising a team of sanitation nurses; the eviction of his parents, after which they were sent to Mikulince, Poland (Mykulyntsi, Ukraine); the German invasion in June 1941; being protected from a pogrom by his supervisor; the murders of several of his family members in Tarnopol; his wife and son hiding in the woods; the Jews of Strusow being sent to a ghetto; his parents’ survival of the Aktion in Mikulince; the fates of his parents and siblings; traveling from town to town with the sanitation team; looking for a hiding place; returning to the ghetto at night; the murder of his wife and son; receiving help from a young man named Slominski, who spread a rumor that Dr. Trief had been killed; hiding along with his brother-in-law in Slominski’s house and barn after June 6, 1943; experiencing several close calls; staying in hiding until March 1944 when the Russians liberated them; his job checking the health of the recruits in surrounding towns; locating his sister Anda; returning to Strusow; organizing a clinic to care for survivors; being with the Russians when they liberated Podhajcze; meeting Leon Kimel, who had survived with his daughter, Luba, and son, Alex; getting married to Luba Kimel; the birth of their son Harold in 1946; immigrating to Sweden; continuing his training to become an obstetrician/gynecologist; the birth of their daughter in 1949; their decision to immigrate to the United States; arriving in New York, NY in January 1952; living in the Bronx; opening a private practice in 1956; his partial retirement around 1977; Luba’s death in 1975; his marriage to Renee Boral, a Polish Jew who had survived the war in Italy; and his official retirement in 1980.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Dr. Oscar Trief
Dr. Paula M. Trief
interview:  1980
1 digital file : WAV.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Paula M. Trief