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Minnesota Liberators of Concentration Camps Oral History Project: Interview with Donald Nost
BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: Donald Nost was born in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, in 1917. After finishing high school there in 1936, he went to Worthington, Minnesota, to look for work. He entered the army in January of 1942, a month after the Pearl Harbor attack, and eventually became a chemical warfare teacher in the Army Air Corps, demonstrating the use of and defense against toxic gases, smoke and explosives. Late in 1944 he asked to be sent overseas, and he arrived in Europe early in 1945 as a member of an armored infantry battalion, which rode on top of tanks to protect them. Nost's job was to carry a forty-five-pound radio for communication with artillery behind them. In early April of 1945 Nost's tank command fought into Hemer, Germany, and freed a prison camp containing about twenty-three thousand starving Allied soldiers, mostly Russians. The tanks knocked down the camp's gates, and prisoners who could still walk cooked grass and ate raw rabbits that they found being raised in the nearby town. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: His first experience with Nazism, in which a sister living in Chicago left her husband and returned to Minnesota in the late 1930s because her husband was attending Nazi meetings; his first two years in the army, stationed in the United States, then volunteering to go overseas; experiences in combat; Hemer townspeople who denied knowledge of the camp and showed no sympathy for the prisoners after their release; the Hemer camp's method of killing through starvation, compared with other camps' use of gas chambers; difficulties in providing food that the prisoners could digest; mass surrenders by the German military and experiences shortly after fighting stopped, including tension between American and Russian forces; military medals that he received.
1.5 hours sound cassette
17 pages transcript
Content Category: sound recordings
Content Category: text
01:17:36 running time
Interviewee: Nost, Donald
Interviewer: Lewin, Rhoda Greene
|Holding Type||Oral History - Interview|
OH 52.11 (Library Call Number)
AV1996.48.11 (Accession Number)
MHS Library Catalog
Oral History - Project, MHS Collection, project: 'Minnesota Liberators of Concentration Camps Oral History Project'