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Primary Sources: Oral History Project

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Johanna Bremer met Fred, who was Jewish, through the Dutch resistance. After the war, they were married. Here, they are pictured just days after Allied forces began airlifting in supplies - and clothing - following the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam.

Welcome to Asbury Solomons' oral history archives, a project that grew out of a Veteran's Day commemoration. For several years, residents who participated in World War II - most through the armed services, but some as civilians - have been sharing their historical experiences with students from nearby Patuxent High School. Early in 2012, we decided to capture their stories in detail and share them with the community at large.

We plan to add to these archives with records of other historical events and periods. Please feel free to add your comments to our interviews, and if you have any questions, please contact: ccanning@asbury.org.

 



Johanna Bremer - The Nazi Occupation of the Netherlands

Johanna Bremer was a teenager living near Rotterdam when the German army invaded Holland in 1940. She met and fell in love with her future husband, Fred, a Jew, while he was being hidden in her sister’s house in Leiden. She remembers life going on in a relatively “normal” way for a while. … Then,...

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George Turpyn: Pilot and Crew Held Captive in Tibet

George Turpyn enlisted in the Air Corps in 1942 as a 19-year-old. On the 41st mission his luck, as they say, ran out. After bailing out near Tibet, they encountered what they thought were allied Chinese. “We had a flag we showed them to say we are here to fight the Japanese. They called it a blood...

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Vernon Garner: Flew B-29s Over Japan

Lt. Col. Vernon Garner (U.S. Air Force, retired), 88, grew up on a Southern Maryland tobacco farm where “if I had a nickel in my pocket, I was happy.” He joined the Army Air Corps in 1942, training and working as an instructor for three years before being sent to the island of Tinian. His first...

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Caroline Van Mason: Women in the Armed Forces

Col. Caroline Van Mason (U.S. Army, retired) was one of the thousands of women who felt called upon to serve in World War II after the United States was attacked in Pearl Harbor. Working in Seattle, Washington, at the time, she had a close friend and former classmate who sent to one of the Japanese...

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Donald Songer: “Tracers as Thick as Bees”

I enlisted in the Army Air Corps on December 8, 1941, and began my aviation cadet training in 1942.  I retired a Full Colonel in the Air Force in 1970. I have so many stories I could tell, but here is one of the funniest.

I was stationed at Inchon Harbor in the Philippines flying P-51 Mustangs....

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Velma Gunselman: WWII Navy Nurse, Solomons, Md.

Velma Gunselman entered the Navy as a nurse and was stationed in Philadelphia’s massive naval hospital before being sent to a “little fishing village” in Solomons, Md. There, Velma treated sailors who became ill or were injured while working on the Navy’s “top secret” mine testing. She remembers...

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