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Oral history interview with John F. Boland

Oral History | Accession Number: 2014.51.15 | RG Number: RG-50.759.0015

John Boland discusses his experience in World War II, when in 1945 he was a 21-year-old Corporal assigned to the 131st Evacuation Hospital; doing sundry administrative jobs; the deployment of the hospital in May 1945 to the Mauthausen concentration camp and nearby Gusen concentration camp; spending most of his time in Mauthausen and not remembering much about Gusen, except that Gusen was smaller and he had to shuttle back and forth; the crematorium at Mauthausen; the hundreds of inmates still in the barracks; his memories of how the camp smelled; the moving of the dead bodies with bulldozers into trenches, after which they were sprayed with chemicals; the surviving inmates only tolerating potato soup; the demographics of the inmates, which included Poles, Russians, Jews, and Czechs; remembering that he only saw men and some boys; his memories of two 16-year-old youths on crutches (he has a picture of them among others); a Catholic priest from a nearby town who came to tend to the inmates; making friends with a Polish inmate about his age, and staying in contact with him (the man became a Monseigneur at the Vatican); some of the former prisoners, who had caught a couple of camp guards as well as the camp commandant and killed them; his reaction to this act of revenge; returning to the US and awaiting shipment to Japan; the war ending in the Pacific and remaining home; his occasional communication with others about his experiences; and still having dreams about his experiences.


Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Interviewee
John F. Boland
Interviewer
Mary Cook
Nita Howton
Date
interview:  1994 April 02
Language
English
Extent
1 sound cassette : analog.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Mary Cook and Nita Howton
 
Record last modified: 2020-05-27 12:50:37
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn79832