Personal Narratives

Personal narratives by people of their experiences during World War II will appear on pages subordinate to this one.  To connect to the narrative, click on the link of the person’s name.

1.  “A Young Boy and the “Good” War,” by Edouard Renière.

2. “Chippy Robinson: a Paratrooper’s Story of Escape After the Battle of Arnhem,” by Peter Elliott.

2. “Life in the Dutch Underground; A Deadly Game of Hide and Seek,” transcribed by Tony Welch.

3. “The ‘Delights’ of German Occupation,” by Louis van den Brand

Of particular interest will be BBC’s collection of 47,000 war stories at People’s War, an archive of World War Two memories, written by the public and gathered by the BBC.  It is organized by subject.  See:

Daniel van Alderwerelt’s Recollections 1929-1952, describe in detail his experiences as a boy in The Netherlands during WWII.  Mr. Van Alderwerelt lives in Grass Valley, California.

The KL-Natzweiler Museum at Struthof, France, near Strasbourg, has a remarkable collection of testimonies from people who joined the Resistance and their subsequent experiences.  It is organized by the following topics:

  • Joining the Resistance
  • The organization of the Resistance
  • The various forms of action
  • Informing
  • Arrest
  • Torture
  • Letters from deportees who were shot by firing squad
  • Imprisonment
  • Deportation
  • The discovery of the camps
  • Memorial

To read the autobiography of Carl Kaas, go to  Vol. 2, The War Years, consists of chapters 53-80.  Chapter 68 is on the Dutch Resistance.

For the story of Nico Hamme, “A Dutchman Hiding in Belgium,” go to for the home page and for the story itself, go to

The memoirs of John K. “Jack” Justice, “The Raid on Munster, Germany, Oct. 10, 1943: My Escape from German Occupied Europe” are to be found at:

For a detailed escape story, visit  It describes the experience of Rowland Williams, RAF, shot down over Denmark, who escaped to neutral Sweden.  (For further information, see

Frank Dell, pilot of a De Havilland Mosquito, in October 1944 was shot down over Germany, survived, and walked to The Netherlands where he joined the Dutch Resistance.  For a one-hour interview with him by Richard Fidler of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, go to  Dell’s book, Mosquito Down, was published in 2014.

Robert Beckers wrote his memoirs in French of his experiences in the Resistance in Belgium; his arrest, imprisonment and torture; and what happened on the Nazi Ghost Train (or Phantom Train).  To read them, click Memoirs of Robert Beckers – souvenirs résistant – including Ghost Train with photo.  To read an English translation of part of his memoirs, click here and follow the link.

A valuable collection of escape stories in Italy is to be found at the Monte San Martino Trust.  To access them, click here.

Yad Vashem’s Stories of the Righteous Among Nations:

The Air Forces Escape and Evasion Society (AFEES) newsletter, Communications, carries escape and evasion stories in every issue.  On its website there is a page which has back issues of the newsletter.  On another page of the website, Paul E. Kenney, My Story, you will find Lt. Kenney’s memoirs of his WWII experiences.  Another possible useful source is the Combat Aircrews’  Preservation Society.  For its link, click here.

The 384th Bomb Group has a good many interviews of WWII experiences of its members.  Click here to view them.

For links to additional personal narratives, go to the page on this website with those links.

3 responses to “Personal Narratives

  1. jacqueline carabelli kervizic

    I will write some notes about some of my experiences during the occupation and my role in the reseau Bourgogne.

  2. jacqueline carabelli kervizic

    Our first guest was Reginald Adams a 19 year ol d gunner from England. A very nice young blond man who looked typically english. When it came time to leave, after 3 weeks of occupying my bed room (I slept in the entry way),he did not want to go. The day I took him to the rendez vous at the botanical gardens (Jardin des plantes) I had the scare of my life. At the garden there were chairs and benches belonging to a lady who charged you a few sous to sit there. Reginald was siting across from me so i put change in my hand and offered it to the lady, Reginald did the same. German soldiers were everywhere. After the war I was in England and got in touch with Reginald and he explained how he went over the Pyrenees went to jail in Spain and after reaching Gibraltar the first person he saw was his brother. my father had a good barber and took these men for a hair cut when necessary he always told the barber that they were deaf mute. After the third one the barber said you have many deaf mutes in your family. Dad never went back. I remember the scare my mother had one day when a plain clothed French policeman rang the door bell and demanded to look at all the rooms. Reginald was in my room with the door closed. The policeman opened it and said madame I understand and left. We thanked God it was a Frenchman and not a German. We believe our concierge turned us in because she was pro German.

  3. jacqueline carabelli kervizic

    Today I am remembering so many things about Paris during the war. I remember standing in line for 5 hours to buy shoes with wooden soles getting to the door of the store and the shoes were gone. I remember my dad taking the train on friday nights to go to the farms and buy chickens, butter or anything else to feed his family and the airmen. I remember him buying cigarettes on the black market so the men would have something to do. i recall vividly the day my mother baked 3 large apple tarts thinking they would last several days but the Californian ate them in one day. That same man called my mother and I idiots and we understood that word well. Still we were happy to help because my mother lost her father in 1915 and she reme’mbered her fathers last words “I am going so my sons wont have to go later’ Her father and his brother were both killed and the big farm they owned in normandie was lost. 2 of my uncles were prisoners in Germany and one was at Dunkerque. Being in my teens I was allowed coupons for milk and butter and would stand in line for hours to buy these.To this day I do not stand i line for anything not even at cafeteriasThe kitchen was the only heated room. and ice would form inside the windows of my bedroom. We kept the butter in that room. In spite of so many sad memories I recall the hopes we had I recall listening to the BBC every night and the pleasure knowing we did something to help.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s