Skip to content

Race to record memories of World War II veterans gains momentum

Click thumbnail for high-resolution image

ww2finals9.JPG

The late Coleman Benedict left behind volumes of meticulously detailed memoirs, including photos, postcards and other documents, from his years of service as a counterintelligence officer for the Allies during WWII. The items are perfect examples of what the Library of Congress' Veterans History Project collects and preserves. (Christopher Twarowski/CNS)

ww2finals7.JPG

Ethyle Benedict reads for her first time the memoirs of her late husband of 50 years, Coleman Benedict, who served as a counterintelligence officer for the Allies during the Second World War. (Christopher Twarowski/CNS)

ww2finals4.JPG

Coleman Benedict's war memoirs contain dozens of photographs from his years of service as a counterintelligence officer for the Allies during WWII. (Christopher Twarowski/CNS)

ww2finals3.JPG

The late former Allied counterintelligence officer Coleman Benedict wrote some of his war memoirs in "captured" notebooks of German soldiers. (Christopher Twarowski/CNS)

ww2finals6.JPG

Coleman Benedict served as a counterintelligence officer for the Allies during World War II. He passed away in 2005, leaving behind volumes of meticulously detailed memoirs of his war experiences, including photographs and other documents. The items are perfect examples of what the Library of Congress' Veterans History Project collects and preserves. (Christopher Twarowski/CNS)

ww2finals11.JPG

The late Coleman Benedict's memoirs contain dozens of photographs from his years of service as a counterintelligence officer for the Allies during WWII. (Christopher Twarowski/CNS)

ww2finals12.JPG

The late Coleman Benedict's memoirs include many photographs from his tour of duty in the Second World War. Benedict was a counterintelligence officer for the Allies and passed away in 2005. Handwritten notes on the back of these photos read: "Eupen, Belgium 18 Oct. 1944" (left) and "Picture is designed to prepare you for the shock when you see me in person. I have grown fat, note heavy jowls. Idstein, Oct. 1945" (right) (Christopher Twarowski/CNS)

ww2finals10.JPG

The Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress collects and preserves the stories of all who served in the U.S. Armed Forces. This photo shows WWII veteran Donald Patrick Finn shaking hands after receiving the Presidential Unit Citation from his Commanding Officer. Whidby Island, Washington, 1943. (Courtesy of Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, 1943)

ww2finals1.JPG

Ethyle Benedict peruses the memoirs of her late husband of 50 years, Coleman Benedict, who served as a counterintelligence officer for the Allies during WWII. It was her first time reading many of her husband's notes. (Christopher Twarowski/CNS)

ww2finals17.JPG

The memoirs of Coleman Benedict, who served as a counterintelligence officer during World War II, includes a vast array of documents. This is his ration card from 1945. (Christopher Twarowski/CNS)

ww2finals2.JPG

Accompanying Coleman Benedict's memoirs are dozens of photographs documenting his years of service as a counterintelligence officer during World War II. (Christopher Twarowski/CNS)

ww2finals14.JPG

Coleman Benedict served as a counterintelligence officer for the Allies during WWII. He passed away in 2005 and left behind volumes of memoirs from his years of service, including many photographs. This photo reads "July '42 Ft. Dix" (Christopher Twarowski/CNS)

ww2finals13.JPG

Coleman Benedict served as a counterintelligence officer for the Allies during WWII. He passed away in 2005 and left behind volumes of memoirs about his experiences during the war, including photos. This photo reads: "June '42 Grrrr-" (Christopher Twarowski/CNS)

ww2finals8.JPG

Coleman Benedict kept meticulously detailed memoirs of his experiences as a counterintelligence officer for the Allies during WWII. (Christopher Twarowski/CNS)

ww2finals5.JPG

Coleman Benedict left behind meticulously detailed memoirs of his experiences as a counterintelligence officer during WWII. His notebooks contained tables of contents and numbered pages. (Christopher Twarowski/CNS)

ww2finals16.JPG

The late Coleman Benedict left behind volumes of meticulously detailed memoirs, including photographs and other documents, from his years of service as a counterintelligence officer during World War II. (Christopher Twarowski/CNS)

ww2finals15.JPG

The Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress collects and preserves the written and oral histories of all who served in the U.S. Armed Forces. The collection includes about 50,000 individual stories and spans every major conflict since World War I. This letter, written by WWII veteran Donald Patrick Finn to his sister Helen, is one example. It is dated May 21, 1941 and can be read in full through the project's website, www.loc.gov/vets/. (Courtesy of Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress)

Click for text-only story

World War II veterans are dying at a rate of more than 1,000 a day, and the race is on to document their war stories before they go. Many are participating in the largest-ever oral history project in U.S. history to ensure that their experiences are not forgotten.


back