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January 05, 2008

Fasting And Remembrance

Aleksander Ajzinberg spent the war years hiding in the west Serbian mountainous region with his mother. Here he describes a conversation he had with Aca Singer - Veteran Leader, former President of the Union of Jewish Communities in Yugoslavia/Serbia.

For more accounts of the experiences of non-combatants in wartime please visit timewitnesses.org/

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December 29, 2007

The Mickey-Mouse Gas Mask

Ted Webber tells of the day gas masks were distributed.

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December 22, 2007

Recalling Bliss - Serbia 1942

Aleksander Ajzinberg tells of a hideaway from those who would do his family harm.

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December 15, 2007

The Last Flight

Aleksander Ajzinberg was born in 1930. He is an architect, writer, translator and professor at the Academy of Art at the University of Belgrade. His father was killed in Staro Sajmiste (Nazi execution ground) as a Jew, in early spring 1942. He spent the war years hiding in the west Serbian mountainous region with his mother.

Here he tells of the tragic conclusion of a childhood game.

For more stories of civilian suffering during wars please visit timewitnesses.org/

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December 08, 2007

Yellow Stars In The Railway Sidings

...One day in 1941, at nine years of age, I wandered around the Grasbrook Island where in 1401 the magistrate of the Hanseatic City Hamburg had the most famous pirate Klaus StŲrtebeker beheaded. I did not know then, but I was actually walking on grounds that lead to death. I came to an old railroad siding of the former Hanover Station. Here I spotted several hundred people shuffling about. Surrounding them I saw soldiers in black uniforms (SS)....

Ferdinand Drewin tells of terrible days in Hamburg during World War Two.

For more stories of civilian suffering during wartime please visit timewitnesses.org/

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December 01, 2007

The Occupation

Monika Beck tells of her great-grandmother's experiences during the American occupation of Germany.

For more stories of civilian suffering resulting from wars please visit timewitnesses.org/

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November 24, 2007

The Hamburg Firestorm

...There was one source of help which stood out and which I will always remember - the school meals provided by the British Red Cross. We had each day a thick nourishing soup in our little pots with handles, and before any holidays we received an exciting parcel with dry food, e.g. a tin of chicken soup with rice, a bar of chocolate, a tin of sardines and other goodies. It was a great help - sometimes we were allowed to take seconds home. In the cold winter of 46/47 I often had a pot full of soup which was awkward when I wanted to skid home from school...

Geseke recalls hard times in Hamburg during and after World War Two.

For more accounts of the suffering of civilians during wartime please visit timewitnesses.org/

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November 17, 2007

Watching The Battle Of Britain

...The most vivid memory I have of that time was watching the Battle of Britain in the September of 1940 from our dining hall window. As a lad of seven I marvelled at the dog fights taking place with the vapour trails criss-crossing the blue sky, pock marked brown by the bursting ack-ack (anti-aircraft) shells. I remember cheering like mad when a Jerry was shot down and booing when one of our lads zoomed out of the sky...

Brian Hopper recalls wartime school days.

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November 10, 2007

The Occuptation Of Holland

...One beautiful September day in 1944, the overhead rumble of planes was so deafening that the daily flights of the Allied bombers seemed a simple buzzing noise in comparison. That afternoon, plane after plane flew by very low to the ground.

These weren't the usual bombers, but big planes towing motorless square gliders, brushing the tops of the trees as they flew past. We could even see the pilots and wave to the crew. It was absolutely incredible and terribly exciting...

Kees Vanderheyden recalls his days as a schoolboy during the German occupation of Holland during World War Two.

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November 03, 2007

Caring For Young Refugees

Mary Langley tells of caring for children during World War Two.

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October 27, 2007

Dying Of Hunger

...At first had he got holiday every third month, but after 1943 he did not get any holiday, because losses had been very high and it was difficult to transport the soldiers from the northest point of Norway to south Germany. Finally he was also not allowed to write letters for home. Many buddies of my grandfather died of hunger and very many were frozen by the deep temperatures at the north of Norway in winter of 1944. There was nothing to see of the glory and the success of the German army...

Andreas Hubel tells of his family's sufferings during World War Two.

For more stories of how warfare has affected civilians please visit timewitnesses.org/

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October 20, 2007

Memories Of A Croatian Soldier

Zvonko Springer tells of the irrecoverable waste of war.

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October 13, 2007

A Canadian Officer in Belgium

Raymond Delaveaux tells of life in Belgium just after the end of World War Two.

To read dozens of stories of civilian suffering caused by warfare please click on Time Witnesses in the menu on this page.

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October 06, 2007

Evacuated To America

...The convoy was huge and inevitably it was attacked by U-boats. Two ships went down while we watched - it seemed so unreal. But being assembled at our lifeboat stations waiting to abandon ship seemed quite real, and my mother deciding to run back to our cabin for some vital papers nearly gave me a heart attack!...

Marion Hunt recalls being evacuated from England to America during World War Two.

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September 29, 2007

Ascot Priory

...We all walked to school each day clutching our empty, clean glass milk bottles.

One day I dropped mine, and it broke. It had been so impressed upon us that we had to take these bottles back, that I picked up the jagged pieces and took them with me. Needless to say there was blood dripping all over the place by the time we reached school, and all these years later there is a scar in the palm of my right hand to prove it!...

Fay Gotting recalls schooldays during wartime, and in the days just after the war.

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September 22, 2007

Liberated By The Canadians

Olga Gerbers tells of hard times in the Netherlands during German occupation in World War Two.

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September 15, 2007

The Occupation

Jan Palmans tells of life in a Dutch town occupied by German troops during World War Two.

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September 08, 2007

To School In Germany

Ruth Warburton tells of time spent in Germany just after the end of World War Two.

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September 01, 2007

Mickey Mouse Gas Mask

...My parents rented a thatched cottage at the top of Steatley Hill, about 15 miles from Reading, with one water tap and no other mod cons. The land included a large orchard, and we kept chickens, rabbits, goats and pigs. I soon became expert at "mucking out" and making pig swill from stinging nettles, at plucking birds for the table, and making chicken coops...

Ted Webber tells of a wartime boyhood.

For more accounts by civilians of their experiences during wars please visit timewitnesses.og/

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August 25, 2007

The Leipzig Workers Strike

Heidi Kirsch recalls the 17th of June, 1953, the day when East Germans staged the first working class rebellion against a communist regime.

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August 11, 2007

A Slovakian Childhood

Marcela SmolkovŠ tells of life in a remote Slovakian village in wartime.

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August 04, 2007

Stolen Fruit - A London Childhood

...My Dad was away in the army, somewhere in Europe and my mother was very nervous. She was a young woman in her mid 20ís, with a little girl (me) and a new baby, and she wanted someone to look after her, and there wasnít anyone to do it. So she cried a lot, and when the siren would go off to warn of an air-raid, she would scream in fear. I always felt responsible for her, like I should be her mother and take care of her. But I was only three and four and five and six and didnít know how, except by not being a burden...

Pamela tells of hardships in London during World War Two.

For more stories of civilian suffering during wartime please visit timewitnesses.org/

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July 28, 2007

A Miraculous Escape

...As we listened to the bombs exploding all around us we tried to outdo the noise with interesting discussions and singing. "We" included my father, my older sister, her husband and myself. We were comfy enough, armed with a flask of tea, torches and extra warm clothing for our night in the shelter...

Sheila Cooper recalls a miraculous escape.

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July 21, 2007

Bombers Over Bristol

...I remember the barrage balloons silver above the roofs, the sound of the mobile guns passing up and down the street at night, and the criss-cross of searchlights in the sky...

Kate recalls World War Two bombing raids on her home city, Bristol.

For more accounts by civilians of their experiences during wars please visit timewitnesses.org/

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July 14, 2007

A Peace Party

Al Smith recalls the day he went door to door, collecting spoonfuls of tea and sugar.

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July 07, 2007

Laughter In The War Office

Even in wartime there are reasons for laughter. Mara recalls the day her mother was summoned to the War Office.

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June 30, 2007

Imprisoned On The Isle Of Man

..I vividly remember hundreds of us being made to walk in a long crocodile down to the docks. The roads were closed to let us through, and the streets were lined with soldiers armed with open bayonets Ė being seven years old, they were right at my eye level. I didnít know why they were pointed at us..

Ellen tells of being interned with her family as "enemy aliens" on the Isle of Man during World War Two.

For more stories of civilian suffering during wartime please visit timewitnesses.org/

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June 23, 2007

Love Is To Send Away

Geseke tells of being evacuated from Germany to Poland in World War Two.

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June 16, 2007

The Fire Bombing Of Dresden - An Eyewitness Account

Lothar Metzer survived the fire-bombing of Dresden by the United States Air Force and Royal Air Force in 1945. Read his account of one of the most terrible nights in human history - and shed tears. Tears of pity...tears of anger...and, perhaps, tears of shame.

Read other stories by civilians who suffered during wartime timewitnesses.org/

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June 09, 2007

An Imprisoned American Schoolboy

...It is surrounded by an abysmal and wide moat followed by towering walls. It is a thirty-minute drive from Stuttgart, and a ninety-minute drive from Nuremberg, and it is said of this place that those who go up the hill do not come back. And even though I was just a kid of 12, I was locked in a cell in this place...

American-born Arthur D Jacobs tells how, as a schoolboy, he came to be locked up in a cell in Germany.

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June 02, 2007

One Day In Munich

Peter Sinclair's father was an eminent lawyer in Munich. His clients numbered members of the Royal Wittelsbach family. Yet when on a day in 1933 he went to Police HQ to intercede on behalf of a client he was treated worse than any criminal.

...When my father was shown into a room at the Police HQ, he was set upon and severely beaten up by a troop of these S.A. Nazi 'policemen'. He had several teeth knocked out and received a perforated ear-drum. He was then force marched through the streets of Munich, barefoot, bleeding and with his trouser legs cut-off at the knees. This procession was flanked by two lines of armed, brown-shirted and jack-booted S.A. Nazi escorts. He was made to carry a board around his neck with the words: 'Ich bin Jude aber ich will mich nie mehr bei der Polizei beschweren' [I am a Jew but I will never again complain to the Police]...

For more stories of civilian suffering in wartime, and at the hands of the perperators of wars, please visit timewitnesses.org/

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May 26, 2007

Kristallnacht

...That night I woke up to noise, shouting and screaming. About 8 young storm troopers, drunk or crazed in some other way, smashed up our home. By the time they came into the bedroom I shared with my younger sister, they had done a lot of damage to other rooms and had locked my parents into their bathroom. My parents were terrified for their children and I could hear them screaming and shouting and then I became very frightened...

Susan recalls the night of broken glass - that terrible night when the Nazi regime's persecution of the Jews was revealed to the world.

For more accounts of civilian suffering caused by hatred and warfare please visit timewitnesses.org/

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May 19, 2007

Exile In Siberia

...The soldiers came on June 19, 1941, at about 2:30 am, an officer of NKVD and two privates. They just knocked and came in....

Romuald Lipinski tells of the night when he and his family were deported to Siberia.

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May 12, 2007

A Child Alone

...One day one of those bombs hit the house where my father was living and all the people who lived with him died...

Paola Cecchi tells of the horrors that befell her father when he was six years old.

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May 05, 2007

Wartime In Warsaw

...Another time when I was lying in bed in the hospital, there was a man in the bed next to me and I was telling him how much I hated the Germans and I was going to kill them all. When my mother appeared he asked her to tell me to be more careful when his friends came, because he was an officer in the German army...

Dr Jan Mokrzycki recalls his boyhood in Warsaw during World War Two.

For more stories of suffering caused by wars please visit timewitnesses.org/

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April 28, 2007

The Liberation Of Belgium

Hubert Christiaen tells of the arrival of Canadian troops in Belgium after the Germans had retreated towards the end of World War Two.

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April 21, 2007

Buzz Bombs And Doodlebugs

Bernard Bergonzi recalls flying bomb attacks on London during World War Two.

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April 14, 2007

Pom-Pom Guns And Scarlet Fever

John Richardson remembers the night of a big bombing raid on Coventry.

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April 08, 2007

Stolen Fruit - A London Childhood

...My Dad was away in the army, somewhere in Europe and my mother was very nervous. She was a young woman in her mid 20ís, with a little girl (me) and a new baby, and she wanted someone to look after her, and there wasnít anyone to do it. So she cried a lot, and when the siren would go off to warn of an air-raid, she would scream in fear. I always felt responsible for her, like I should be her mother and take care of her. But I was only three and four and five and six and didnít know how, except by not being a burden...

Pamela tells of hardships in London during World War Two.

For more stories of civilian suffering during wartime please visit timewitnesses.org/

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April 07, 2007

Germans In The Channel Islands

Brian Ahier Read tells of the day in June, 1940, when Germans arrived to occupy Jersey in the Channel Islands.

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March 31, 2007

Bagpipes And Skirts

Werner Toporski remembers the day when he first saw British soldiers marching to the skirl of bagpipes.

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March 24, 2007

Lithuania Under Occupation

Daina Maslauskaite tells of terrible times in Lithuania during World War Two.

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March 17, 2007

The Hunger Years

Ingeborg Faust recalls hard times in Germany during World War Two.

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March 10, 2007

Doodlebug Hits School

...On one occasion I can remember I was in school when we heard a doodlebug engine suddenly cut out (that meant that it was about to drop!). We hadn't taken shelter because there wasn't usually time for that, and only just enough time for Miss Clarke, the Geography teacher to yell "duck everyone" and so we all ducked under our desks as usual....

Margaret Auckland recalls the day when a flying bomb hit a nearby school.

For further stories of civilian suffering during wartime please visit timewitnesses.org/

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March 03, 2007

The Three Month Walk

Mrs Jagjit Kohli and her family walked from Burma to Northern India after the Japanese had bombed Mandalay - a walk which lasted three months.

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February 24, 2007

The Lost Child From Siberia

...I was given the name Magdalena when I was four. In 1943 I arrived in Teheran in Persia on a train from Siberia with thousands of other children, from babies to up to age 10. No mothers. No fathers. No adults except the soldiers...

Magdalena Mokrzycki tells of how she found a father in the Polish Consul-General in Teheran.

For more stories of the suffering caused by warfare please visit timewitnesses.org/

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February 17, 2007

When The Russians Occupied Vienna

...As I watched it from my window, a Russian soldier came out of a grocery across the street with some loot in his arms. A comissar saw him, never spoke to him, just drew his pistol and shot him dead on the spot...

Ernest Blaschke tells of life in Vienna under Russian occupation at the conclusion of World War Two.

For more stories of the suffering caused by warfare please visit timewitnesses.org/

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February 10, 2007

Coping With Discrimination

...When a raid was over people would help to dig in the rubble for survivors. Children would carry messages as there were very few private phones and if the distance wasn't too far as there was always the danger of another air raid.

In fact in the last few weeks before the Russians arrived we practically lived in the cellar and we could hear the gunfire of the Russian Army as it drew ever nearer...

Lotte Evans tells of difficult times in Vienna during the war years.

For more stories of civilian suffering during wartime please visit timewitnesses.org/

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February 03, 2007

Slave Labour

Markus Gall was transported to Germany in World War Two to work as a slave labourer, clearing up the wreckage after the Allies had carpet-bombed towns.

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January 27, 2007

Teatime For Tommy

...The jam ration is nearly gone so I have to spread it on my bread-and-marge very thinly - just the merest smear. There's a pot of Parsnip Jam we got 'off-ration' but it isn't very nice and I prefer to eat what I've got. Bread isn't rationed so I eat about six slices. That will keep me going until 8, when I get a snack of cheese on toast with a cup of hot oxo...

Tom Holloway tells of wartime rationing in England.

For more stories of the wartime experiences of civilians please visit timewitnesses.org/

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January 20, 2007

First Flight

Pat Sowrey recalls her first flight in a Royal Air Force training plane during World War Two.

Pat writes for Bonzer! magazine. Please visit www.bonzer.org.au

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From Slave To Pilot

During the war Feliks Chustecki was forced to work as a slave in a Russian labour camp. When Hitler attacked Russia he became a pilot in the Free Polish Air Force and arrived in Britain.

For many more stories of wartime suffering please visit Timewitnesses.org/

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January 13, 2007

A Sack Of Coffee Beans

Heinz Barthel, then a Potsdam schoolboy, tells of the chaos in Germany during the closing days of World War Two.

For more accounts of civilians suffering during the grim days of war please visit timewitnesses.org/

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January 06, 2007

Dust, And More Dust

....when you come home you were covered in this dust. It was up your nasals. It was in your eyes. Your hair was stiff and black with it and it was all in the corners of your mouth. In your earholes, everywhere, wherever there was a hole it was in there. And of course when you got home there wasn't all this water that just come out of taps like. You didn't, like, get in the bath, have a shower and wash your hair, or anything, you just give your hair a good brush. And before you went out that night to meet your mates you'd give yourself a good sloosh in a basin of water...

Dot Baker recalls working as a teenager in a steel works during the war years.

For more accounts of civilian experiences in wartime please visit timewitnesses.org/

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December 30, 2006

What Will The Winners Do?

Heinz Barthel tells of grim days as World War Two drew to a close in Europe.

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December 23, 2006

Winter, 1944

Winter 1944, December, age 13. My mother took my hand and we drove to Stettin, the province's capital, for Christmas shopping. At that time many houses existed only as rubble, the ruins open to heaven. The air raids by the bombers of the western allies had done their work...

Oscar tells of grim days as World War Two drew to a close.

For more stories of civilian suffering during wartime please visit timewitnesses.org/

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December 16, 2006

Coventry Air Raid Warden

Mary Richardson tells of an extraordianry fire-fighting intervention during a bombing raid on Coventry.

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December 09, 2006

Ten Green Bottles

I was a boarder at school in Reading, England, on VE Day 8th May 1945 and I was nearly 12 years old. We boys spent all day scrounging wood and building the most ginormous bonfire. Then in the evening we jumped about (hardly dancing!) around the fire, singing all those silly songs such as "One man went to mow", "Ten green bottles", "Clementine", and something about "I ain't got my specs with me".

Ted Webber recalls the day the war ended.

For more civilian memories of wartime please do visit timewitnesses.org/

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December 02, 2006

The Death March Begins

Zvonko Springer tells of an enforced long march by units of the Croatian Army at the conclusion of World War 2.

For more stories of the suffering engendered by war please visit timewitnesses.org/

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November 25, 2006

The Hunger Years

Ingeborg Faust (nťe Wittich) recalls harsh times in Germany when World War Two ended.

For more stories of civilian suffering resulting from warfare please visit timewitnesses.org/

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November 18, 2006

A Conscientious Objection To War

"I refuse on moral and rational grounds to take part in any military activity or to assist the military machine in any way. I believe that the method of War is wrong and futile. Might is not Right but it is illogical to attempt to prove it by means of force. I cannot and will not kill, or help in the killing of human beings I do not know and with whom I have no quarrel...''

Arthur Pay took the courageous and moral step of registering as a conscientious objector at the outset of World War Two.

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November 11, 2006

The Occupation

...The Germans arrived in impeccable order, with shining unused guns and dressed in new and clean uniforms...

Helene Delattre recalls the day when a German army marched into France.

For more memories of civilians in wartime please visit timewitnesses.org/

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November 04, 2006

Paris Is Occupied

Violette Wassem recalls the fateful day, June 14, 1940, when a German army came marching into Paris.

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October 28, 2006

Belgrade In Ruins

"We all waited impatiently for my father's return from the war. Each time the doorbell sounded, I rushed with my aunt to receive a returning family member or friend. If it was a male, I pulled my aunt's sleeve and asked, "is this my father?" The reply was always negative. She knew through communist contacts that the Germans shot him in 1941, which was the fate of many Jewish males in Belgrade...''

Carmella Dight was five years old when peace came to Yugoslavia.

For more accounts of the suffering wars have brought to civilians please visit timewitnesses.org/

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October 21, 2006

Bombed Out In The London Blitz

"In 1940 the air raids started up proper. Like lots of others down our street we had an Anderson Shelter in our garden, but it was dreadfully damp so in the end we used to sleep under our big oak table. If the air raid sirens went off in the evening we would just ignore them and carry on eating our tea or playing cards until we heard bombs getting a bit close and then we would dive under the table for cover...'' Kathleen Brockington has vivid memories of the London Blitz.

For more accounts of civilian suffering during wars please visit timewitnesses.org/

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October 14, 2006

Calcutta - August, 1945

... I had so many mixed feelings about the end of the war against Japan. We were all relieved and jubilant of course, but it also meant that the world we knew - uniforms everywhere, planes taking off, good friends of many nations, would completely disappear. No more war, no more noise, but also fewer cosmopolitan friends...

Nandita Sen was living in Calcutta when World War Two ended in August, 1945.

For more stories of civilians caught up in warfare please visit timewitnesses.org/

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October 07, 2006

An Unexploded Bomb

...Ruby and I were dead keen to see a bomb, so we rushed off and ducked under the barrier (nobody spotted us or tried to stop us) and went and had a good look at it. I can remember being amazed at the size of it, and it had fins sticking up just like in the pictures...

Rosa Newby recalls the day when a bomb dropped on her neighbourhood in London during World War Two.

For more stories by the civilian victims of war please visit www.timewitnesses.org/

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September 30, 2006

In Hiding

...The house searches continued and I would need to spend time hiding behind a sliding panel and perched on the house rafters...

Clara Turner tells of days in hiding as German soldiers searched for Jewish people in Holland.

For more stories of civilian suffering caused by warfare visit timewitnesses.org/

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September 23, 2006

The Little Children Suffer

Nada Kadlecova tells of the night when, after an Allied bombing raid on Pilsen, her mother, a teacher, arrived at school to discover that out of 30 children only five were still alive.

For more accounts of the suffering of civilians in war time please do visit Timewitnesses.org/

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September 16, 2006

The Destruction Of Dresden

Angela Gill, in words all the more potent for their simplicity, tells of one of the most shocking events in World War Two - the Allied bombing of Dresden.

For morre civilian memories of war days please do visit timewitnesses.org/

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September 09, 2006

Malta's Ordeal Begins

Carmelina Grech tells of the day war came to the Mediterranean island of Malta.

To read more extraordinary stories of ordinary people caught up in the turmoil of war please do visit www.timewitnesses.org/

The site points out that many of the young people who lived during World War Two are still alive. Time has healed the wounds on both sides, but some of those survivors want to be sure that the lessons of the past will be learned by a new generation.

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