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Witnesses to War: Voices from the Rutgers Oral History Archives
Exhibition Opens Sept. 14th

Europe 1945: Lewis Bloom, Rutgers College Class of 1942, an Army intelligence officer, questions the sister of Field Marshall Erwin Rommel as the Allies enter the German heartland. Halfway around the globe, Alexander Bell, Jr., College of Pharmacy '42, treats wounded GIs coming off the battlefields of America's campaign to wrest control of the Philippines from the Japanese. Meanwhile, Barton Klion, Class of 1948, arrives on the Banks of the Raritan only to find a Rutgers campus turned upside by the war effort and invaded by uniformed student- soldiers.

These are just three of the stories to be featured in this fall's Witnesses to War: Voices from the Rutgers Oral History Archives exhibition in Alexander Library's Gallery '50, a commemoration of the sixtieth anniversary of the end of World War II. The stories of these men and women will be told through the letters, diaries, photographs and other artifacts that they produced and collected during the Second World War. This is the personal side of the war, a story of a young couple meeting by chance in a USO club, newlyweds separated by overseas postings, and the impact of combat on men barely out of their teens.

The exhibition will open on September 14, 2005 and be on display until December 31. Rutgers Professor of History William L. O'Neill, author of A Democracy at War: America's Fight at Home and Abroad in World War II (1993), will speak at 4:00 p.m. in the Remigio U. Pane Room, First Floor, Archibald S. Alexander Library, followed by a reception.

All of the veterans and home front participants included in the exhibition have been interviewed by the Rutgers Oral History Archives, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. Many have donated World War II related document collections to Special Collections and University Archives at the Rutgers University Libraries.

To RSVP for the exhibition opening, contact events@rci.rutgers.edu or call (732) 932-7505.

This exhibition is part of a university-wide series of events marking the sixtieth anniversary of the end of World War II. Opening September 1 at the Zimmerli Art Museum will be a photography exhibition entitled A Witness to War: Edward Steichen's U.S. Navy Photography 1942-1945. On Veterans' Day, November 11, 2005, a symposium at Alexander Library will include several panel discussions: historians and archivists will debate the use of photography in documenting the war, veterans will discuss their experience of the last days of the war, and soldier-authors will sign copies of their books. The day will culminate with an evening screening of the rarely seen Battle of San Pietro at the Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center, introduced by Albert G. Nigrin, Rutgers Department of American Studies.

For more information on any of these events, please contact Fernanda Perrone, Special Collections & University Archives at hperrone@rci.rutgers.edu or Alfred Franco, Curator of Education, Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum at afranco1@rci.rutgers.edu.

Posted August 5, 2005