A showcase of our most treasured collections selected by VHP staff members. The written descriptions of these veterans’ stories highlight the diversity and dramatic content of our holdings. View additional staff favorites.
Go to John Horn's Collection
A number of World War II veterans in our collections recount their experiences of liberating the concentration camps in Germany and Austria. For a few soldiers, however, the destruction of European Jewry during the Holocaust was personally devastating. John Horn, a staff sergeant with the 3rd United States Army Intelligence Center, was a German-Jewish émigré. While some members of his immediate family left Germany for America or Palestine before the war, many remained. Most of Horn's letters home deal with general topics--the routine of Army life--but in October 1945, Horn writes from Berlin with a heart-wrenching account of the fate of his family. In only a few lines, Horn encapsulates the murder of Germany's Jews: the round-ups, the danger of living under assumed identities, the efforts of a few who would save Jews undermined by the actions of traitors, and finally the deportations to certain death at Auschwitz. Horn vowed that as long as he lived, that part of his family who perished (his sister Luzie and his uncle Leo) would survive, too. John Horn died in 1953; his brother Herbert donated these letters to the Veterans History Project in 2002.
Chosen by Alexa Potter, Historian. Alexa's specialties are World War II, the Holocaust, and Central Europe. She came to the Veterans History Project in March 2005. (September 2006)
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