“Nobody Expected A War”: Fighting The Nazis With The Soviets As A Polish Jew

Bernhard Storch


Bernhard Storch grew up near Krakow, Poland with his four brothers in a Jewish family. His mother was a housewife, and his father, a businessman, had been wounded in 1917 while serving as an Officer in the Austrian Army during WWI. The Nazis invaded in 1939, and burned down Bernhard’s synagogue. When the Russians invaded, he found himself on the Soviet side of the lines. He was taken to Siberia, and volunteered to fight for the Soviets in a Polish Division. He started out in an 82mm Mortar Company, but eventually ended up serving on a 122mm Howitzer. His first engagement was in October, 1943, at the Battle of Borodino, in which his howitzer destroyed two German tanks. As the Soviet Armies advanced, Bernhard’s unit liberated several concentration camps. Eventually, he crossed the Oder River and entered Berlin. When the war ended, he entered a Displaced Persons Camp in Munich, eventually making his way to the United States with his wife and entered the fashion industry. In this interview, Bernhard talks about growing up in Poland, the beginning of the war, and being interned by the Soviets. He discusses joining the Soviet Army, and serving in a Polish unit. He describes liberating concentration camps, and his feelings as a Polish Jew. Finally, he recounts his experiences coming to America and starting a new life with his wife in New York.


conflicts World War II
topics Courage Camaraderie Concentration Camps Morale Nazi Germany Refugee Jewish Military Experience
interviewer David Siry
date 15 July 2016


name Bernhard Storch
service Field Artillery
unit Polish Division, Soviet Army
service dates 1943 1945