World War II | Texas Public Radio

World War II

The World War II era is about to officially draw to a close in the United States Congress. This comes after seven full decades during which there was always a veteran of that war in the legislative body.

Karl Wildman was the hero of his family — he escaped Vienna at the start of World War II and became a successful doctor in the United States. When Karl died, his granddaughter Sarah Wildman found a hidden trove of love letters from a woman Karl left behind in Vienna.

Brundibár, a children's opera that premiered during World War II, became both a symbol of hope and resistance and a Nazi propaganda tool. Now, Petite Opera, a small company in suburban Chicago, is reprising the opera, originally performed by Jewish children held in a concentration camp in occupied Czechoslovakia.

In 2009, Glenn Kurtz stumbled across some old family films in a closet in his parents' house in Florida. One of the films, shot more than 70 years earlier by his grandparents while on vacation in Europe, turned out to include footage of his grandfather's hometown in Poland.

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This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy – and 19 local veterans who served in France during those perilous times received international recognition today.

Houston’s French Consul General came to San Antonio to present the former military members with France’s highest honor.

The French Order of the Legion of Honor is France’s highest decoration for bravery in military service.

Col. Scott Bleichwell of Army North says Consul General Sujiro Seam is in San Antonio to honor the veterans who fought in France during World War Two.

Gino Narboni

Now here's somebody who's led an interesting life.  He’s Gino Narboni. And no, he’s not Italian.

“I started in North Africa, in Algeria,” he said.

He’s a softspoken 90-something-year-old man now, but what a life he’s led. He ran off to join General de Gaulle’s free French movement. When they asked him what he wanted to do, he said, "I want to fly. Ha! I was barely 20 at the time.”

The free French didn’t have any airplanes then, but Gino eventually got his wish.

“I was sent to the United States for pilot training,” he said.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Germaine and Lucien Rigault, 86 and 89 years old, respectively, lean out their first-floor window, watching people go by. They were here in the tiny French hamlet of La Cambe on June 6, 1944, the day the Allies invaded Normandy and began the liberation of France and Europe from Nazi control during World War II.

The man widely believed to be at the center of an iconic 1945 photo showing a sailor kissing a nurse in the middle of Times Square on V-J Day has died.

The Associated Press reports that Glenn McDuffie died of natural causes on Sunday in a nursing home in Dallas.

When America entered World War II, some of Hollywood's most celebrated directors enlisted and risked their lives. But they weren't fighting — they were filming combat.

Through the 1930s, Hollywood and the federal government held a mutual suspicion of each other. But after Pearl Harbor, the War Department asked Hollywood directors to make short documentaries that could be presented in theaters before the featured films. The ideas was to show Americans what was at stake, give them a glimpse of what our soldiers were going through and stir up patriotic feelings.

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