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Ray Gock oral history interview

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Material Information

Title:
Ray Gock oral history interview
Series Title:
Concentration camp liberators oral history project
Uniform Title:
Holocaust & genocide studies oral history projects
Physical Description:
1 sound file (13 min.) : digital, MPEG4 file + ;
Language:
English
Creator:
Gock, Roy, 1920-
Hirsh, Michael, 1943-
University of South Florida Libraries -- Holocaust & Genocide Studies Center
University of South Florida -- Library. -- Special & Digital Collections. -- Oral History Program
Publisher:
University of South Florida Tampa Library
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Fla
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Concentration camps -- History -- Germany   ( lcsh )
World War, 1939-1945 -- Concentration camps -- Germany   ( lcsh )
World War, 1939-1945 -- Concentration camps -- Liberation   ( lcsh )
World War, 1939-1945 -- Atrocities   ( lcsh )
World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives, American   ( lcsh )
World War, 1939-1945 -- Veterans -- United States   ( lcsh )
Veterans -- Interviews -- United States   ( lcsh )
Genocide   ( lcsh )
Crimes against humanity   ( lcsh )
Genre:
Oral history   ( local )
Online audio   ( local )
Oral history.   ( local )
Online audio.   ( local )
interview   ( marcgt )

Notes

Summary:
This is an oral history interview with Holocaust concentration camp liberator Roy Gock. Gock was a member of the 14th Armored Division, which liberated Ampfing, a sub-camp of Dachau, on May 3, 1945. He joined the division as a replacement in late April 1945. The camp was actually entered by another company from the 14th, while Gock and his unit waited for them to return; though Glock himself never went through the gates, he did see the prisoners coming out. He also spoke with one of the former inmates who had been an Air Force pilot and shared his rations with him.
Venue:
Interview conducted November 30, 2008.
Preferred Citation:
The Liberators: America's Witnesses to the Holocaust (New York: Bantam Books, 2010) and Concentration Camp Liberators Oral History Project, University of South Florida Libraries, ©2010 Michael Hirsh.
Language:
Transcripts, excerpts, or any component of this interview may be used without the author's express written permission only for educational or research purposes. No portion of the interview audio or text may be broadcast, cablecast, webcast, or distributed without the author's express written permission.
Statement of Responsibility:
interviewed by Michael Hirsh.
General Note:
This interview was conducted as research for The Liberators: America's Witnesses to the Holocaust / Michael Hirsch (New York: Bantam Books, 2010).

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 024873183
oclc - 653240463
usfldc doi - C65-00051
usfldc handle - c65.51
System ID:
SFS0022103:00001


This item is only available as the following downloads:


Full Text
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This is an oral history interview with Holocaust concentration camp liberator Roy Gock. Gock was a member of the 14th Armored Division, which liberated Ampfing, a sub-camp of Dachau, on May 3, 1945. He joined the division as a replacement in late April 1945. The camp was actually entered by another company from the 14th, while Gock and his unit waited for them to return; though Glock himself never went through the gates, he did see the prisoners coming out. He also spoke with one of the former inmates who had been an Air Force pilot and shared his rations with him.
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PAGE 1

COPYRIGHT NOTICE This Oral History is copyrighted by the University of South Florida Libraries Oral History Program on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of South Florida. Copyright, 20 1 0 University of South Florida. All rights, reserved This oral history may be used for research, instruction, and private study under the provisions of the Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of the United States Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section 107), which allows limited use of copyrig hted materials under certain conditions. Fair Use limits the amount of material that may be used. For all other permissions and requests, contact the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA LIBRARIES ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at the University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fo wler Avenue, LIB 122, Tampa, FL 33620.


xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8 transcript
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time 00:00:0.0
text Michael Hirsh: Okay, your name is Roy Gock, G-o-c-k?
1
00:00:5.2
Roy Glock: Yeah, thats correct.
2
00:00:6.7
MH: Whats your address, please?
3
00:00:36.8
RG: Thats correct.
4
00:00:38.3
MH: And whats your date of birth?
5
00:00:40.7
RG: February 26, 1920.
6
00:00:46.8
MH: You were with the 14th Armored Division?
7
00:00:49.1
RG: Yeah.
8
00:00:50.0
MH: Which unit?
9
00:00:52.4
RG: I was with the 68th Armored Infantry, Company A.
10
00:00:58.6
MH: 68th Armored Infantry. What was your rank when you were in the service?
11
00:01:6.7
RG: (laughs) PFC [Private First Class].
12
00:01:10.0
MH: Okay, where were you before you went in the Army?
13
00:01:15.0
RG: Oh, I was at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, going to Signal Corps school.  And then I was transferredin fact, I missed the Battle of the Bulge because I was home during Christmas.  And then I was sent to Texas for a second time infantry training, and then went overseas.
14
00:01:45.5
MH: Where did you grow up?
15
00:01:47.5
RG: I grew up in Oakland.
16
00:01:49.4
MH: In Oakland, okay.  And you were drafted into the Army?
17
00:01:54.2
RG: No, I enlisted.
18
00:01:56.1
MH: Okay, how old were you when you enlisted?
19
00:01:58.8
RG: Oh, my goodness.
20
00:02:1.4
MH: Or what year?
21
00:02:2.1
RG: Nineteen forty-two, I think, I enlisted.
22
00:02:4.8
MH: You were about twenty-two years old.
23
00:02:6.7
RG: Yeah, right.
24
00:02:8.5
MH: When did you get to Europe?
25
00:02:12.0
RG: Some time in March of forty-five [1945].
26
00:02:17.6
MH: You got there almost at the very end of the war.
27
00:02:20.2
RG: Oh, yeah, I was lucky, lucky all the way.
28
00:02:22.3
MH: You went as a replacement, then?
29
00:02:27.7
RG: Yeah, as a replacement.
30
00:02:30.3
MH: You joined the 14th Armored Division.
31
00:02:32.2
RG: Yeah.
32
00:02:34.1
MH: 68th Armored Infantry Division.
33
00:02:35.0
RG: We landed in Le Havre, I think, and then the column was going so fast, we couldnt catch up with them.
34
00:02:43.7
MH: Where did you finally catch them?
35
00:02:46.3
RG: I mustve caught them somewhere just after Moosberg, I think, just north of Munich.  In fact, I was in Munich before I went into the column.
36
00:03:1.1
MH: Really?
37
00:03:1.9
RG: Yeah.
38
00:03:3.2
MH: So, you got to them at the end of April?
39
00:03:7.9
RG: Yeah, end of April, thats correct.
40
00:03:12.7
MH: Okay.  What did you know about the concentration camps at that point?
41
00:03:17.1
RG: Well, you know, it just happened to be thatI think somewhere around April, end of April, my company was spearheading, and then we went back to combat reserve.  And then, the Company B went up ahead.  We saw them at the concentration camp at Ampfing.  And we were waiting on the river for somebody to come out, and who came up?  General [George S.] Patton.
42
00:04:1.1
MH: He came to the camp at Ampfing?
43
00:04:3.0
RG: Yeah, we came up.  I think Company B was the liberators of the camp, and then we saw these people came out with pajamas, and we didnt know what the hell they were.
44
00:04:16.4
MH: What did you think?
45
00:04:17.9
RG: Well, I thought these people were something in detention, thats all.
46
00:04:28.3
MH: You hadnt been told anything at all about
47
00:04:30.5
RG: No, we went through anything and we didnt know anything.
48
00:04:35.3
MH: Did you go into the camp?
49
00:04:37.0
RG: No, I didnt go into the camp because we had to cross the river, the Inn River.
50
00:04:41.6
MH: The Inn River? And the camp was on the other side?
51
00:04:44.7
RG: No, the camp was on the same side before we cross.
52
00:04:48.7
MH: How long were you around Ampfing, then?
53
00:04:55.3
RG: Well, I would say about five hours.
54
00:05:0.9
MH: Did you have a chance to talk to any of these people?
55
00:05:4.3
RG: There was an Air Force pilot that came out of the prison camp, and I gave him some of my C ration, and he was very happy to see us.
56
00:05:18.4
MH: What did he tell you?
57
00:05:20.2
RG: He said, Im sure glad to see you guys.
58
00:05:25.0
MH: What kind of shape was he in?
59
00:05:26.6
RG: He was in good shape.  But the other prisoners, the others were so scrawny, and the funny thing, they didnt beg for anything.
60
00:05:38.1
MH: Really?  I wouldve thought theyd have been asking for food.
61
00:05:42.5
RG: No, they didnt.  They were very proud.
62
00:05:46.9
MH: Could you tell what language they were speaking?
63
00:05:49.1
RG: No, I didnt.
64
00:05:52.3
MH: What kind of a day was this?
65
00:05:55.2
RG: It was kind of a cloudy day.
66
00:05:58.6
MH: This would be spring in Germany.
67
00:06:5.6
RG: Well, it snowed May 1.
68
00:06:8.5
MH: Oh, okay.
69
00:06:9.7
RG: Yeah.
70
00:06:11.8
MH: What else do you remember?  You never went into the camp?
71
00:06:16.6
RG: No, we couldnt go.  I mean, we have to stay in the half-track, and we have to go across the river.
72
00:06:22.1
MH: What else do you remember about that day?
73
00:06:26.5
RG: The peoplethe Germans were running around, scared to death.
74
00:06:33.8
MH: Was there any shooting going on in that area?
75
00:06:36.5
RG: No, not at that time.
76
00:06:40.4
MH: You had mentioned you got to Mhldorf, too.
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00:06:43.1
RG: I beg your pardon?
78
00:06:44.3
MH: You got to Mhldorf as well?
79
00:06:47.1
RG: Neudorf, yeah.  We stayed in Neudorf, right outside Neudorf.
80
00:06:52.1
MH: Okay, and is that where Ampfing was?
81
00:06:54.3
RG: Ampfing was down the road.  I have a map.  You know, my sergeant had a map, a roadmap of a German service station roadmap.  We fought the war with that map.
82
00:07:10.7
MH: With a German service station roadmap.
83
00:07:12.7
RG: Yeah.
84
00:07:13.0
MH: Thats like using a Texaco map to fight a war in the United States.
85
00:07:17.4
RG: Yeah, same thing, like these gas station maps.  I still have a copy of it.
86
00:07:23.2
MH: You didnt see the concentration camp at Muhldorf, then.
87
00:07:26.8
RG: No, I didnt, Im sorry.  Were lucky; we stay in the half-track and went across the river.
88
00:07:33.5
MH: What happened when you went across the river?
89
00:07:36.1
RG: Well, that was an incident where the tanks were stacked up with sandbags, because the German 88s were punching holes through them, and Patton was there, and he ordered them to be taken off.  And they were bitching all the way.
90
00:07:59.9
MH: Where did they have the sandbags?
91
00:08:2.1
RG: Right on the side of the tank.  And then the second thing I do remember was the medics were scraping the red cross off of the helmets, because the Germans were shooting them.
92
00:08:16.7
MH: Nice.  Even at the end of the war?
93
00:08:20.4
RG: Even at the end of the war, yeah.
94
00:08:23.4
MH: Did you ever run into any SS?
95
00:08:26.3
RG: Yes, I didnt go over into one, but one night, my other party was on guard duty, and they stopped two SS officers and they had to take them as prisoners.  And then, about four oclock in the morning, the lieutenant woke me up and said, Youre going on guard duty.  Guard these two men, and if they make a move, you shoot them.
96
00:08:56.4
MH: Did they make a move?
97
00:08:59.2
RG: No, they didnt make a move at all.  Two hours.
98
00:09:1.6
MH: Too bad.  (RG laughs)  I understand from talking to a lot of guys that after they saw the concentration camps, they didnt take SS prisoners.
99
00:09:13.3
RG: They didnt, huh?
100
00:09:14.3
MH: No.
101
00:09:16.4
RG: We had to cross the river.  Well, you know, you gotta keep going.  You couldnt stop anywhere you wanted to stop.
102
00:09:24.6
MH: Where were you when the war ended?
103
00:09:27.4
RG: I was transferred sometime in August, I was transferred to the 45th Infantry Division.
104
00:09:34.7
MH: On V-E Day, where were you?
105
00:09:37.7
RG: V-E Day, I was in a little town somewhere near Velden, I think.
106
00:09:45.5
MH: In Austria?
107
00:09:47.8
RG: Yeah, in fact, it was right by Neudorf, somewhere around that area.
108
00:09:53.0
MH: Oh, okay.  Then you got transferred to the 45th Infantry?
109
00:09:56.3
RG: Yeah.
110
00:09:56.9
MH: Did you like that better than armored? Or did you like armored better?
111
00:10:2.1
RG: Oh, heres a whole story.  When I got to the 45th, I became the regimental colonels orderly.  I took the job because the company commander said, If you take the job, you wont have to fight in Japan.
112
00:10:22.4
MH: Sounded like a good deal at the time.
113
00:10:27.5
RG: Oh, it was very good.
114
00:10:29.1
MH: When did you get out of the service?
115
00:10:33.0
RG: I got out in December 1945.
116
00:10:37.4
MH: Okay, and went back to the Bay area?
117
00:10:39.7
RG: Yeah, back to the Bay area.
118
00:10:41.6
MH: Whatd you do there?
119
00:10:43.2
RG: I went back to school.
120
00:10:43.9
MH: Where?
121
00:10:45.4
RG: At Berkeley.
122
00:10:46.3
MH: At Berkeley.
123
00:10:46.4
RG: Yeah.
124
00:10:47.4
MH: You get your degree there?
125
00:10:48.6
RG: Yes, I did.
126
00:10:49.5
MH: In what?
127
00:10:50.6
RG: In mechanical engineering.
128
00:10:53.6
MH: Is that what you did for most of your life?
129
00:10:55.1
RG: No, I went into business and then I became a civil engineer.
130
00:10:59.8
MH: Okay.  Anything else you can remember about the Ampfing situation?
131
00:11:8.3
RG: Ampfing situation, not very much, because we were just on the move.  And you couldnt stop.  We were stopped because we were waiting for Patton to come up and inspect the pontoon bridge.
132
00:11:22.1
MH: At any time, you didnt see any displaced people or former prisoners walking on the roads, did you?
133
00:11:32.4
RG: No, no, there was nobody around.  Theres a war going on.
134
00:11:38.8
MH: When the Germans started taking them on death marches
135
00:11:43.6
RG: No, no, we didnt see that. The whole thing was in an uproar because the prisoners were out, running around, you know.
136
00:11:51.4
MH: Were they trying to keep them in the camp or were they just letting them go?
137
00:11:54.9
RG: They were just letting them go.  They were free to walk wherever they want.
138
00:12:0.4
MH: Was it just men, or men and women?
139
00:12:3.7
RG: What I saw was just men.
140
00:12:8.4
MH: Anything else you can think of?
141
00:12:10.5
RG: Well, you know, somehow I was lucky to save a copy of the Stars & Stripes, and it had a little article about Ampfing, you know.  Thats how I was aware of where I was and I was aware that this was a concentration camp.
142
00:12:30.1
MH: What did the article say?
143
00:12:32.1
RG: I havent read it for a while, but it mentioned it was a prison camp where they kept people there.
144
00:12:40.5
MH: You didnt take any pictures there, did you?
145
00:12:46.9
RG: No, I didnt take a picture at Ampfing, but I took pictures at Berchtesgaden.
146
00:12:52.7
MH: Thats a whole other story.
147
00:12:57.5
RG: Yeah, thats another story.
148
00:12:58.7
MH: Thank you very much.
149
00:13:3.1
RG: I dont think I could help you much, but I saw the article and it mentioned about Ampfing and Muhldorf, and I was there.
150
00:13:12.1
MH: I appreciate your calling.  Whats the nickname of the 14th Armored Division?
151
00:13:15.6
RG: They call them the Liberators.
152
00:13:18.2
MH: The Liberators, okay. Thank you very much, sir.  I really appreciate it.
153
00:13:22.0
RG: Youre welcome.  Nice talking to you.
154
00:13:23.9
MH: Nice talking with you. Bye-bye.