Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Abraham Pasternak - May 11, 1982

Life in the American Army

...what was it? They cut off the traffic from East to West Berlin and it lasted for a long time and then after that the, the Korean War broke out and ??? I was back again. I was back in the army and I became the acting chaplain again. And let me say this: I enjoyed the army. In the army I learned a great deal and I've Americanized. They were very nice to me. They took me to school. They picked me up after uh, in the beginning during basic training...they picked me up and they took me to uh, learn English. Picked me up uh, I learned and I did pretty good.

Did you receive some kind of award?

Yeah, I received...I was the acting chaplain. I was...I received a reward from Major...no, Major General Bruce Clarke for doing an officers job as the chaplain. I made arrangements for the boys for the holidays, and for the High Holidays, for Pesach, and uh, I conducted every Friday night services and uh, I think that uh, I was treated very well in the army. I got a very good education. I was...while I was in the army...when I was recalled to active duty, they didn't really know exactly what to do with me because I was in a concentration camp. And I don't know because this has any bearing or not...and uh, they needed a chaplain...somebody to conduct the services and uh, they looked at my record and they say that I was uh, that I have the knowledge for it and we were considered as the specialist in the army so we were in on barrack. And that was in uh, Fort Hood, Texas. One man was reading the wall, ??? and he was the only one who is asked me...says, "Abe, please tell me how was it in a concentration camp." And he says, "How can a people do that to a people?" I was very moved by it. I said, "I'll tell you what, I'll talk to you once in a while." At that time you were a little bit reluctant, I mean, in talking about the camp because it was too fresh, it was too difficult but I did tell him some of the things and we got along very, very nicely. We became good friends.

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