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The World War II Oral History Collection holds interviews from more than two dozen men and women give graphic descriptions of participating in all theaters of operations. Their experiences range from being captured and hellish ordeals as POWs incarcerated in German and Japanese camps, and from slave labor camps to Japanese-Americans interned in remote, dismal relocation centers. Aging veterans also give vivid first-hand accounts of the attack on Pearl Harbor and recall the horrifying Bataan Death March. Some of these interviewees served as gunners and pilots on bombing missions over Germany, participated in the Normandy Invasion, the turning point Battle of the Bulge and other famous and even obscure battles. The interviews also include horror-filled descriptions of Japanese hell ships and the liberation of Dachau. They all share their views on two of the defining moments of the war: Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The World War II Oral History Collection is part of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program is an affiliated program of the University of Florida's Department of History. Its collections include approximately 4,000 interviews and more than 85,000 pages of transcribed material, making it the largest oral history archive in the South and one of the major collections in the country. The transcribed interviews are available for use by research scholars, students, journalists, genealogists, and other interested groups. Researchers have used our oral history material for theses, dissertations, articles, and books.
Digitization of the collection has been funded in part by the generous donation of Caleb and Michele Grimes.