Victor Stein Oral History
Victor Stein was born April 20, 1922 to Frederick and Barbara (Muggli) Stein in Cold Spring, Minnesota. He began working in banking in 1940, but was drafted and joined the Army Signal Corps when World War II began. Three of his brothers, Roger, Joseph and Frederick, also served, and interviews of Joseph and Frederick are also in this collection. Victor married Delphine Nierenhausen in Cold Spring on May 2, 1943 shortly before shipping to Sacramento, California for basic training. He studied radio repair at Newark, New Jersey, and airborne radar repair at Camp Murphy, Florida, before being sent to North Africa and southern Italy, where he worked as a radar mechanic. After the war, Victor and Delphine raised a daughter and four sons while he returned to banking and eventually retired as co-owner and vice president of First National Bank of Cold Spring. He was Cold Spring village clerk for four years, a member of the Cold Spring Planning Commission from 1965 to 1985, and a board of directors member for Assumption Nursing Home, and an announcer for Cold Spring Springers baseball. He was also a member of St. Boniface Catholic Church, Catholic Order of Foresters, Knights of Columbus, American Legion, VFW, Cold Spring Sportsmen’s Club, and Stearns County Historical Society. He passed away on May 25, 1996.
Victor Stein described his experiences as a radar mechanic in the Army Signal Corps during World War II. He first covers aspects of his training. This consisted of basic training at Sacramento, California, radio repair school at Newark, New Jersey, and airborne radar repair school at Camp Murphy, Florida. He also discussed the trips across the Atlantic and later the Mediterranean with the Merchant Marine. Most of the interview consists of a few stories Stein shared of his experiences in North Africa and Italy, where he was stationed at Foggia, Cerignola, and Gioia del Colle. In one instance he discussed at length, describing how he found a solution to repairing about one hundred Army planes that had been unable to fly, although another mechanic received credit for it. Stein also described in detail his strained relationships with two officers, one of whom he described as overly ambitious to be promoted. The interview concluded with a brief discussion of his thoughts on the Vietnam War and men who avoided the draft.
Interviewed by Lois Gaetz
St. Cloud State University, "Victor Stein Oral History" (1990). World War II Veterans. 22.