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Oral history interview with Harold Cohen

Oral History | Accession Number: 2014.11.1 | RG Number: RG-50.106.0220

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

Harold Samuel Cohen, born on June 26, 1924 in Coney Island, New York, discusses his childhood; his Zionist parents; his mother dying in 1938; becoming a diamond cutter after his high school graduation and going to Brooklyn College at night; getting drafted in January 1943 and going to Camp Grant in Illinois for five months for medical training and experiencing antisemitism there; going to a basic engineering program at the University of Chicago for nine months; being sent to Keesler Airfield in Biloxi, Mississippi for pilot training in the Army Air Force for one month; going back to Camp Grant in late 1943 and getting assigned to the 170th General Hospital; sailing on a hospital ship to England; landing on Omaha Beach in France 10 days after D-Day; setting up a hospital camp at Le Mans, France to serve military patients; getting stationed on a hospital train going to Paris, France; getting hit by a bomb while he was in an ambulance; taking 6 weeks to recover; going in early spring 1945 with five doctors and 15 medical personnel to Prachitice, a women's concentration camp in Czechoslovakia near Pilsen; treating about 100 Jewish women survivors, who were in their early teens or older and sleeping on three tiered bunks; how the women helped and fed each other though they were suffering from frostbite, pneumonia, and other communicable diseases and had been marched from a camp in Poland; staying two weeks and feeling very connected to them; seeing the tattooed numbers on their arms, and how this was turning point for him, where he went from being a boy to a man; being replaced by another medical unit and going to Vienna, Austria as a medical technician until April 1946; meeting many Austrians who claimed they never heard or saw what was happening to Jews , going back to Brooklyn, N.Y. then to the University of Chicago for a master's degree in industrial psychology; getting married; having two children; working for a toy company; and racially integrating the work force.

Interviewee
Harold S. Cohen
Interviewer
Gail Schwartz
Date
2014 February 21  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
1 digital file : WAV.
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 11:09:39
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn77423