Work with Veterans

HOMEFRONT PRISONERS OF WAR THOMAS K. OLIVER (USAAF)      Tom Oliver in 2009      Oliver photos 2012 PETER DAHLBERG (ARMY)      December 7, 1941      Friends for Life      He Took My Place       Christmas Lights HAROLD TAYLOR (USAAF)      Story of Had Taylor STAN LIEBERMAN (ARMY)     Story of Stan Lieberman LESTER SNYDER (USAAF)       Durkee's Crew WARREN FAGERLAND (ARMY) EJI SUYAMA (ARMY)      My Combat in the 442nd HARRY NOLLSCH (ARMY)        Harry Nollsch       Taps Delayed       The Purple Heart FRANK MORAWA (GERM. ARMY)        Life of Frank Morawa LOYD BRANDT (MARINES)      Reluctant Heroes       Brothers in Arms JERRY TEACHOUT (USAAF)       Leaving Home for WWII CHUCK CHILDS (USAAF)       I Flew the Big One      Combat Mission 15      Riding Rails before WW2 HARRY PUTNAM (NAVY)       Veterans STEVEN WARREN (NAVY) GORDON LEASE (COAST GUARD) CLARENCE CARSNER (ARMY) WALLY DAHLQUIST (USAAF) GEORGE W. LARSON (NAVY) ALAN HERBERT (ARMY) RICHARD PERKINS (MARINES)      Letter home, 1944 RUSSEL FRINK (NAVY) JIM LOCKHART (NAVY) REX ALAN SMITH (ARMY ENG) VINCE FITZGERALD (NAVY) HONOR FLIGHTS CHARLES ANDERSON (USAAF)      Life of Charles Anderson HARLAND HERMANN (ARMY)      Letters during WWII WALTER MARCHAND (ARMY)      D-Day Doctor's Diary JUNO SUNDSTROM (ARMY) KEITH CHRISTENSEN (ARMY) DEAN SHAFFHAUSEN (NAVY) CHARLES GERLACH (NAVY) WAYNE BREWSTER (ARMY) WILLIAM A. SEMLEK (ARMY) KENNETH HALLIGAN (ARMY) WALTER MEHLHAFF (ARMY) EDDIE KODET (ARMY) TOM McDILL (ARMY) PAUL PRIEST (ARMY) VICTOR WEIDENSEE (ARMY)       Weidensee maps OLA CAMPBELL (USAAF) DALLAS BLOMQUIST (Marines) BILL LOFGREN (ARMY) HAROLD JANSEN (Navy)       Personal Summary JOHN W. FULLER (NAVY)      John Fuller Goes to War JOHN WILKINSON (ROYAL AF) MARCELLA LeBEAU (ARMY) HILARY COLE (USAAF) TOM WENN (USAAF) JOHN GASTON (USAAF) MAURICE CROW (USAAF) GEORGE MOLSTAD (USAAF) GEORGE MOE (US ARMY) MEL CARLSON (NAVY)
Gathering oral history from [sometimes] elderly war veterans requires particular awareness and sensitivity. Here are some things to consider:
  • Oral history is very demanding in terms of time and emotions, and this can be particularly true of war oral history.

Always be on time for meetings. Your interviewee may be nervous, so do not keep them waiting.

Be flexible. You may be offered a cup of tea when you arrive, or your interviewee may want to get started immediately. Follow their lead.

Do not continue with a question line if your interviewee is reluctant to talk about something. Move on to another topic.

Be patient. You are asking your interviewee to remember events and feelings that occurred more than 60 years ago. Give them time to think.

If your interviewee becomes agitated or disturbed because they cannot remember some detail, reassure them that it doesn't matter, and move on to another question.

If you sense your interviewee is becoming tired, end the session and, if possible, arrange to come back at another time.

Talking about the past can be an emotional experience, and you should allow time, while you are still with them, for your interviewee to wind down after the interview. This is especially so if they have been talking about things that may have upset them.

It is the interviewer's responsibility to ensure that interviewees are not left to cope by themselves with any strong emotions that the session may have evoked. This is particularly important if the interviewee lives alone. If you have any serious doubts about the welfare of a veteran, contact Veterans' Affairs [or similar resource] whose job it is to care for war veterans and their needs.

Always write a letter of thanks after the interview.

Source

http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/hands/from-memory/working-with-veterans