Trunsky, Leonard Hanley
U.S. Service Person
Detroit (Michigan), Bruges (Belgium)
Mr. Leonard Hanley Trunsky was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1927 on Chicago Boulevard. He lived in an apartment with his parents, Harold and Isabel. He was an only child. His grandparents were Lazer and Anna Trunsky and Fannie and David Studen.
When he was nine years old, the Jewish tenants were asked to move. The family left for Calvert Avenue and Mr. Trunsky went to Brady School. Shortly after the move, his mother died.
Growing up, Mr. Trunsky saw very little of his father’s family who were very Orthodox. His mother was a reformed Jew and was confirmed at Temple Beth El in the class of 1910. Mr. Trunsky’s father was in the steel business.
When his mother died of pneumonia, he was sent to live with relatives in Yonkers, New York. Blanche and Edward Silverberg were his maternal aunt and uncle. They had two daughters and Edward was a dentist. Mr. Trunsky’s father has just started his steel business when his mother died and didn’t have time to take care of him.
Mr. Trunsky took Hebrew lessons twice a week and, when his mother was alive, he went with her to the Temple Beth El on Sundays. He went with his father to Shaarey Zedak Synagogue and also attended United Hebrew Schools for his Hebrew lessons.
After two very happy years in Yonkers, Mr. Trunsky’s father called to say he was getting remarried to a woman by the name of Edith who had a son, Ronald. He wanted Mr. Trunsky to come back to Detroit, although the Silverberg’s begged his father to let him stay where he was happy and doing well in his studies.
He returned and attended middle school and then Northern High School; although he wanted to go to Central High School, where his father was sending his step brother. He graduated in 1944. Straight out of high school, he enlisted in the army at the age of seventeen because he wanted to leave his home, which wasn’t a happy one for him (there was a great deal of money and very little love).
Mr. Trunsky went into the ASTRP: Army Special Training Reserve Program for soldiers under eighteen. He did his basic at Fort Bragg, North Carolina where there were four other Jewish soldiers. He trained in Field Artillery. He was very happy because he was fed three meals a day and there were people that cared for him. He was then sent to Bruges, Belgium for almost three months. The last year of service, he was transferred back to the United States to the Valley Forge Hospital in Phoenixville. He was discharged from Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland at the age of twenty. He was awarded a good conduct medal, sharp shooter medal and a WWII victory medal when the war ended.
When he came home, his stepmother gave him a hard time again, so he shoved her against the wall and threatened her.
While he was in the army, Mr. Trunsky met his wife. It was through a friend of one of his aunts that fixed him up. A friend of Mr. Trunsky’s future father-in-law owned Schneider’s Fur in Newark, New Jersey and he repaired his aunt’s fur coat. Mr. Schneider told Mr. Trunsky that he had a daughter who was going to school at Michigan State University in East Lansing and when she came home, he’d introduce them.
Eventually the two married in Newark, New Jersey. Mr. Trunsky, at the age of twenty, was walked down the aisle by his father and step mother, which made him furious because he didn’t want her there.
Mr. Trunsky worked at Kasle Steel, where he stayed for ten or twelve years; and attended Wayne State University night school on the GI Bill. After he left Kasle Steel, he began the Crown Steel Rail Company and moved from Whitcomb Street to Robson Street in northwest Detroit and then to West Bloomfield.
He has three daughters: Isabel Dzodin, Ruth Aaronson and Donna Brown; he also has a son, Roger Trunsky and eleven grandchildren and many great grandchildren.
For 64 years Mr. Trunsky has been happily married. His wife is buried near his father and step mother which does not please him, but had no choice at the time.
Mr. Trunsky said that Temple Israel and the Holocaust Memorial Center, where he has been a volunteer for over twenty five years, have been very important aspects of his life.
Date: August 8, 2012
Interviewer: Donna R. Sklar