Making History Project
"Preserving Veterans' Stories"
501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization

Oral History Archive

Combat Trauma Presentations

Lewis University PresentationThe New Year is often a time to reflect on the year that has passed. Last year was a watershed moment for the Making History Project in that I completed the work on my first NEH grant involving combat trauma.

Combat Trauma Presentations

The work culminated in November when I made several oral history presentations in Chicago concerning War and Trauma. The main presentation hosted at Governor’s State University involved the co-teaching of a course with Dr. Andrae Marak. The students were deeply engaged in the topic of trauma and recognizing trauma through the lens of an oral history interview.

Trauma, Empathy, and Understanding

Perhaps most fulfilling for me was the student’s acceptance of the hypothesis that combat trauma and all the adjectives that describe it, is a very destructive and debilitating force on our combat veterans. Better yet, the students admitted that such trauma demanded empathy, but yet most agreed that empathy was oddly missing for combat veterans. This brought home my point for how we have a long way to go to understand and effectively deal with combat trauma. To this I say, mission accomplished.

Mission Accomplished: Thank You!

I was also fortunate enough to give another presentation at Lewis University concerning the goals of the Making History Project and to spread awareness of oral history and documenting combat trauma amongst our Veterans. Again, I am grateful to everyone at Governor’s State University and Lewis University for making this all happen. Finally, a big thank you to Dr. Andrae Marak for the kind words and feedback below from his students on the presentation:

Governor's State University Presentation


Learn about War, Trauma, and Humanities

NEH Grant Supports new course “War, Trauma, and the Humanities”

As an update for my upcoming work on a National Endowment for the Humanities grant (Dialogues on the Experience of War), I wanted to share with you all the very cool poster promoting the new college course for this fall.

The course will be given at Governors State University, located in Chicago, and is overseen by Dr. Andrae Marak. The goal of “War, Trauma, and the Humanities” is to promote a greater understanding of the impact war and trauma has upon veterans. Students will learn about this important topic through literature, film, and group discussions with veterans. This interactive and multi-disciplinary course will conclude with a televised town hall discussion involving students, veterans, and members of the public.

My contribution to the course will be to lead a discussion on oral history interviews of veterans as evidence of trauma as well as to educate students on oral history interview techniques. Feel free to contact me ( if you would like to learn more about this course, or if you would like to participate in future projects involving this topic.

war trauma

Veteran Oral History Interview: WWII Veteran Harald Mayrock

Vetean Oral History InterviewVeteran oral history interview for WWII Veteran Harald Mayrock is now available.

Patrick Russell completed this interview on February 10, 2015, in Lima, Peru.

WWII Veteran Harald Mayrock is a German Paratrooper from the 7th Paratrooper Division, 1st Company. Harald was born in Lima, Peru. As fate would have it, Harald’s father, who was German, took Harald to Germany to enroll him in a prestigious school right before WWII broke out. In fact, Harald’s parents were on a ship ready to leave when they were ordered to disembark just prior to Germany’s invasion of Poland. After the start of World War II, Harald was drafted into the Luftwaffe and served in a heavy mortar platoon in Holland, Yugoslavia, and Germany.

During this interview, Harald reflects upon his childhood, how he arrived in Germany, the state of Germany prior to the war, his military service, the end of the war, his time as a prisoner of war, and his fantastic journey to reunite with his family and then return to Peru.