Tags / conflict
Fernand Kaisergruber is a Belgium WWII veteran who fought in the Waffen SS as an infantryman on the Russian front.
"One day in late 1941, I overheard that two Flemish men had joined the Waffen SS to go fight in Russia," he said. "I talked to my boss and told him that I wanted to do the same. I therefore had the choice between the Waffen SS or the SS Wallonie. I chose the SS Wallonie."
Adolph Straka is a Slovenian who fought as a volunteer in the German army against the Russians in Europe, and with alongside the Red army.
"When the Russian took me as prisoner, I was identified as a Yugoslavian, so I got better treatment," he said. "I remained prisoner of war for only three days, and I then swore to Stalin, my name was changed to Rudy, as I bore the same first name as Adolph Hitler."
Jean Mathieu is a French national who was forced into the German army to fight against the advancing Russians during WWII.
"With the coming of the Germans, I remained at the family home, he said," but because I was a peasant, the Germans left me alone until 1942, when I was sent to Northern Bavaria to a work camp."
Giovanni Doretta who in an elite mountain unit in Russia as part of the Italian army on the Russian front.
"In August 1942 the division was sent to the Russian front, to the Caucasus," he said. "We took the train to the Ukrainian city of Izium, but counter-orders were sent by the Germans, and we had to unload and walked 300 kilometers to the Don front near Stalingrad."
Eugeniusz, a Polish WWII veteran is posing for the camera inside the WWII Polish association near Gramercy. He fought in the British army in Italy as part of an infantry outfit equipped by British forces.
"The Russians took my parents and I to Siberia, because my father was an officer in the Polish army," he said. "I never saw him again. My mother and I were put on a train. It took about two weeks to reach Siberia, with 30 other people in the same train car."
Jack Ukkonen was a Finnish infantry man fighting to defend his country against the Russian invader.
"My regiment reached the front lines on January 1941 by train," he said. "On the way over there, we were sworn in at a local church with our entire unit. Once at the front, I was very scared, but I was young and reckless."