Oral History

Leon Bass describes his wartime experiences

Leon Bass was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1925. He joined the US Army in 1943 and served as a member of the all-Black 183rd Engineer Combat Battalion attached to General Patton's Third Army. Leon's unit was involved in the Battle of the Bulge as well as the liberation of Buchenwald. After the war, Leon went on to receive his doctorate, teach, and speak about the Holocaust and racism. 

In this interview, Leon describes his first experiences with the realities of war and death. He reflects upon his decision to join the US Army and fight for his country, even though he experienced discrimination and racism in the United States.



  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, gift of the Holocaust Resource Center at Kean University
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