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

Oral History Archive

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.


World War II Veteran Stan Saltz Interviewed

WWII Veteran Stanley SaltzOn June 18th, I was honored to meet and interview World War II Veteran Stanley Saltz in Delray Beach, Florida.  PFC Saltz served with the 75th Infantry Division as a combat engineer.  Stanley Saltz was primarily responsible for finding and disabling mines and boobytraps.

Stanley participated in the Battle of the Bulge, the Rhine River crossing, and the liberation of the notorious concentration camp, Dachau.  The most memorable memory for PFC Saltz is his rescue of a German police dog on Christmas Eve during the Battle of the Bulge.  After patching up the wounds of the dog, Stanley named his new friend “Santa” and swears that Santa saved not only his but the lives of his squad countless times.

For his service PFC Saltz received the Bronze Star, Combat Infantry Badge, and the French Legion of Honor.  Stay tuned for a video excerpt of the oral history interview.

WWII Veteran Gerald Haviland Interviewed

MHP Completes Another Veteran Oral History Interview

WWII Veteran Gerald HavilandThis past weekend, I had the honor to complete an oral history interview of World War II Veteran, Gerald Haviland, in his home in Caryville, Florida. Caryville is a small rural town in northwest Florida approximately ninety miles west of Tallahassee.  Mr. Haviland who is 99 years old, was a Master Sergeant in the Ninth Infantry Division and worked as a radio operator for Headquarters Company, 60th Infantry.

Master Sergeant Haviland began the liberation of Europe by first invading its underbelly in Africa beginning with French Morocco.  Gerald’s military service took him to Tunisia, Sicily and eventually the D-Day landings in Normandy, France.  Gerald watched the D-Day invasion on June 6th from a ship and he stormed ashore a few days later on Utah Beach.  After breaking through the hedgerows in Normandy, Mr. Haviland made his way through France and witnessed the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge.  While on the front lines, Master Sergeant Haviland observed a massive buildup of German tanks and called in his warnings to upper command.  While Mr. Haviland’s warnings did not prevent the eventual German onslaught, it did however result in the removal of his unit from the area which prevented its destruction or capture.  Until the end of the war, Gerald spent the last of his military service in the Rhineland and Central Europe on brief occupation duty.

Gerald Haviland was the recipient of two Bronze Stars, the Rifle Badge, Good Conduct Medal, Distinguished Unit Badge, and the Campaign Medal with 8 Stars and 2 Arrowheads.  Throughout the interview, I learned that Gerald was a bit of a free-thinker and rebel while in the Army which lead to some interesting exchanges with his commanding officers.  Additional highlights include the capture of a German spy in his unit, holding out in town while totally surrounded, and seeing the Russians at war’s end.

Stay tuned for a video excerpt of the interview.