The Manhattan Project

In partnership with the National Museum of Nuclear Science & HistoryNational Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Special Engineer Detachment

Hans Courant's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation and this is Friday, April 10, 2015. We’re at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. I have Hans Courant with me, and the first question for him is please tell us your name and spell it.

Hans Courant: My name is Hans Courant, and it’s spelled C-o-u-r-a-n-t. It’s French for running, Courant, c’est moi.

Kelly: Right. So, are you a runner?

John Mench's Interview

Mench: I am John Mench and sixty years ago I was a young man with a wife and a baby girl, a good job in industrial deferment, a brand new home and a mortgage. Inside of a week or two, I had in my hand a ticket to a camp, an Army camp, an industrial deferment that was cancelled. I still had a wife and a baby daughter but they were now living with my wife’s sister, and my home was rented. The only thing that hadn’t changed was the mortgage.

Val Fitch's Interview

Val Fitch: My name is Val Logsdon Fitch. It’s V-A-L L-O-G-S-D-O-N F-I-T-C-H. And the Logsdon is my mother’s maiden name. Where Val comes from, I have no idea. Except it was a favorite name of my mother’s.

Cindy Kelly: Tell us a little bit about your background and how you happened to end up at Los Alamos during the war.

William E. Tewes' Interview (September 2013)

Cindy Kelly: This is Cindy Kelly. It is September 6, 2013. I am in Oak Ridge, Tennessee with Bill Tewes. So Bill, can you tell us your name and spell it?

Tewes: Sure. My name is William Edward Tewes. And the first and second names are obvious, but to spell my last name, it is T-E-W-E-S. My father and my children all pronounce it “Tewes.” The rest of my older family, including my grandparents, pronounced it “Teweys.” And my Uncle Elmer would remark, “Any fool should know it’s pronounced Teweys because there are two E’s in the name.”

Herman Snyder's Interview

Herman Snyder: My name is Herman Snyder, H-E-R-M-AN S-N-Y-D-E-R. 

Cindy Kelly: Great, good job. All right, now, maybe we can pick up the thread of that story. If you can tell us your experience, and compress it a little bit because I want to spend most of the time talking about your experience here at Oak Ridge and K-25. But I do like the idea that you were, you know, shoved away, that you were in this place with all these tests, and, you know, provocative. That was good. I think that’s interesting.

Winston Dabney's Interview (2003)

Winston Dabney: I’m Winston Dabney. I was born in Virginia, near Richmond, Virginia. I was inducted into the service on July 4, 1941. I was warned as I was going in, “Go for one year and then get out.” And it so happened I had about six months before the war actually started and I received my basic training. I went in at Fort Belmont, North Carolina because I was working down in North Carolina at the time.

William Lowe's Interview

William Lowe:  I was born in Bartlesville, Oklahoma in the year 1920. Within a few years, my parents had moved to Westfield, New Jersey, where I grew up. But upon reaching 18, I went to college at Purdue University. It was 700 miles from home. By train, it took a day. 

I would say that my 93 years have been dominated by atomic bombs, war, in particular World War II, and later by peaceful uses of atomic energy. What I will do is try to convey, more or less chronologically, what happened.

Robert Holmberg's Interview

Robert Holmberg: I’m Robert W. Holmberg, H-O-L-M-B-E-R-G, Bob Holmberg. And I like to tell people I’ve never had an honest job. I’ve worked for the Manhattan Project or its predecessors all my life. I’m an Iowan by birth; Fort Dodge, Iowa. As a little boy I was interested in chemistry. I went to college and got my degree at Ames, Iowa. Iowa State College then, it is Iowa State University now.

Haskell Sheinberg's Interview

Cindy Kelly: My name is Cindy Kelly, it is Wednesday, July 31st, 2013, and I’m here with Haskell Sheinberg. And the first question to him is, please tell us your name and spell it.

Haskell Sheinberg: My name is Haskell Sheinberg. And the first name is H-A-S-K-E-L-L, last name S-H-E-I-N-B-E-R-G.

Kelly: Perfect. 

Sheinberg: I haven’t lost that much memory anyway.

Robert Kupp's Interview

[Interviewed by Cynthia Kelly and Tom Zannes.]

Robert Kupp: My name is Robert William Kupp. Did you say spell it?

Yes. [Laughter.]

Kupp: Robert William K-U-P-P. And the age is eighty-two. I’ll be eighty-three next month in July.

So, Mr. Kupp, I wanted to know, what were you doing before you came to the Secret City?

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