George Tievsky

George Tievsky, 89, an Army physician who helped liberate the Dachau concentration
camp in 1945 and who later owned a radiology practice in Chevy Chase. He had
pancreatic cancer.

In 1944, Dr. Tievsky was commissioned a medical officer in the Army and shipped to
the European theater in anticipation of the invasion of Germany. He served in the 66th
Field Hospital in southern France and Germany, attached to the Seventh Army.

He was a doctor in the first medical unit to liberate the Dachau concentration camp in
April 1945 and spent six weeks tending to survivors of Dachau and the Allach forced
labor camp. Only with the passage of time was he able to talk about what he saw there.

I was a personal witness of the liberation of Dachau, he told a group in 2001. It was so
unspeakable, and I could not speak of it for 40 years.

In a discussion for the Holocaust documentary To Bear Witness, Dr. Tievsky recalled the
horrors of what he saw.

I walked the streets of the pleasant, pretty little village of Dachau, and I could smell the
smell of the death camp. I said to myself, how could this be?

An observant Jew, he spoke extensively on his war experiences at the U.S. Holocaust
Memorial Museum and to military, educational and civic groups throughout the D.C.
area. His experiences were recorded in lengthy wartime letters to his fiancee and in a
recorded interview with the Shoah Foundation in the 1990s. He recently had been
writing a book and compiling his letters.

Dr. Tievsky, the son of immigrants from the Ukraine, moved in 1920 to the District,
where his father bought a grocery store on Gale Street NE. Four years later, his family
moved to Tenleytown in Northwest Washington, and his father opened the Wisconsin
Market with the family living above the store.

As a young boy, Dr. Tievsky was active in a Boy Scout troop composed largely of
children of Jewish immigrants.

He was a graduate of  
Western High School (1935) and received a bachelor's degree
in pharmacy from George Washington University in 1939. He graduated from the
university's medical school in 1943, followed by a nine-month wartime internship in
radiology.

After Dachau's liberation, Dr. Tievsky was ordered to the Pacific theater in preparation
for an expected invasion of Japan. On Aug. 6, 1945, his troop ship was told to return to
New York after the bombing of Hiroshima.

After World War II, he served medical residencies at Gallinger Municipal Hospital -- a
predecessor of D.C. General Hospital -- and the Veterans Administration Hospital in
Washington. He operated a private radiology practice in downtown Washington from
1950 to 1995, where his patients ranged from local residents to diplomats and senior
government officials.

Dr. Tievsky was an early advocate of radiation safety regulations in the 1950s and
1960s and testified before government officials, pushing for legislation seeking a
balance between safety and sound public health policy.

The author of numerous scientific articles on radiation safety, he published the book  
Ionizing Radiation: An Old Hazard in a New Era in 1962. For these efforts, he was
elected to membership in the American Roentgen Ray Society and was made a fellow
of the American College of Radiology.

Dr. Tievsky served as in-house radiologist for the Department of State and for 25 years
was chief of radiology with Group Health Association. A clinical professor of radiology at
George Washington University medical school, he taught until 2002. He raised funds for
construction of GWU's medical school and was a life member of the Luther Rice
Society, a group of university donors.

Active in Jewish civic and philanthropic organizations, Dr. Tievsky promoted bonds for
the state of Israel, the United Jewish Appeal and the Jewish Community Center of
Greater Washington, where he was an advocate for the disabled. He was a past
president of Phi Delta Epsilon, a medical fraternity.

In the 1950s, Dr. Tievsky was a founding member of Congregation Beth El of
Montgomery County. In 2001, he and his wife were among the founding members of Kol
Shalom, a congregation in Rockville affiliated with the United Synagogue of
Conservative Judaism.

He was a gifted photographer, an enthusiastic gardener and a member of the Men's
Gardening Club of Montgomery County.

Survivors include his wife of 62 years, Priscilla Tievsky of Chevy Chase; five children,
Dr. Andrew Tievsky of Cleveland, Seth Tievsky of Washington, Karla Tievsky of Atlanta,
Charles Tievsky of Oakton and Robert Tievsky of Bethesda; a brother, Marvin Tievsky of
Washington; and 10 grandchildren.

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