Special Collections & University Archives University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries

World War II (45 collections)
SCUA

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Bajgier Family

Bajgier Family Papers, 1925-1986.
2 boxes (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 400

Joseph and Martha Bajgier at Bell Market, Chicopee, 1937
Joseph and Martha Bajgier at Bell Market, Chicopee, 1937

On March 13, 1903, Joseph Michael Bajgier was born in Odrzykon, Poland, the youngest of three sons in a farming family. Schooled only through the third grade, Joseph served as a young man in the First Air Division of the Polish Army before following his older brother in emigrating to the United States in 1927. Settling in Chicopee, Mass., with its large and active Polish community, Bajgier began work as a slaughterer of pigs for a meat processing company, but within a few years, he had saved enough money to purchase a small grocery store in Longmeadow. In about 1935, he returned to Chicopee, purchasing a grocery and deli, Bell Market, that his family ran for 36 years. Bajgier was deeply involved in the local Polish community as a member of the Polish National Alliance, the Holy Name Society of St. Stanislaus Parish, and an organization of Polish veterans in exile (Stowarzyszenie Polskich Kombatantow). He and his wife Martha (Misiaszek) had two sons, Casimir and Edward

The Bajgier collection documents the lives of a Polish family in Chicopee, Mass., from the time of immigration through the 1970s. The core of the collection surrounds the life of Joseph Bajgier, and includes a number of documents and a diary from the time of his emigration in 1927, a fascinating series of letters from relatives in Turaszowka, Poland before and after the Second World War, and several photographs of the family and their business in Chicopee.

Subjects
  • Chicopee (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts
  • World War, 1939-1945
Contributors
  • Bajgier, Joseph M
Types of material
  • Photographs

Banfield, Walter

Walter Banfield Papers, ca.1945-1999.
12 boxes (6.75 linear feet).
Call no.: FS 117

The plant pathologist Walter M. Banfield joined the faculty at UMass Amherst in 1949 after service in the Army Medical Corps during World War II. A native of New Jersey with a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin, Banfield’s research centered on diseases affecting shade trees in the United States, and he is widely credited with identifying the origin of Dutch elm disease. As early as 1950, he emerged as a prominent advocate for the protection of open space and farmland, becoming a founder of the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail. An avid hiker and canoeist, he remained in Amherst following his retirement. He died at age 95.

The Banfield Papers include records from his Army service, family records, and professional and family correspondence – particularly between Banfield and his wife Hertha whom he met in Germany during WWII. The professional correspondence documents Banfield’s commitment to land preservation, and include many applications for land to be set aside for agricultural or horticultural use. Banfield was also a talented landscape photographer, and the collection includes a large number of 35mm slides reflecting his varied interests, including images of Europe at the end of World War II and various images of landscape, trees, forests, and other natural features that he used in teaching.

Subjects
  • Dutch elm disease
  • Plant pathology
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Plant Pathology
  • World War, 1939-1945
Contributors
  • Banfield, Walter M

Berke, David M.

David M. Berke Collection of Nuremberg Trials Depositions, 1944-1945.
1 box (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 804

During the latter months of the Second World War, Edmund F. Franz served with the U.S. Army’s War Crimes Branch in Wiesbaden, Germany. Part of the team involved in war crimes investigation, Franz processed hundreds of pages of first-hand accounts by perpetrators, eye witnesses, concentration camp survivors, political prisoners, and prisoners of war that ultimately served the prosecution during the Nuremberg trials. At the war’s end, he returned home to Aurora, Ohio, eventually bequeathing a collection of depositions from his wartime work to a friend, David M. Berke.

The Berke Collection contains copies of approximately 300 pages of material gathered by U.S. Army investigators in preparation for the Nuremberg trials. The depositions, affidavits, and reports that comprise the collection are varied in scope, but most center on German maltreatment of prisoners — both political prisoners and prisoners of war — with a handful of items relating to larger issues in intelligence and counter intelligence. Gathered originally by the Office of Strategic Services, the Counter Intelligence Corps, and other Army units, the materials offer chilling insight into the brutality of the concentration camp system, “labor reform” prisons, and police prisons, and the sheer scale of wartime inhumanity.

Subjects
  • Buchenwald (Concentration camp)
  • Dachau(Concentration camp)
  • Flossenburg (Concentration camp)
  • Innsbruck-Reichenau (Labor reform camp)
  • Ravensbruck (Concentration camp)
  • Sachsenhausen (Concentration camp)
  • World War, 1939-1945--Atrocities
  • World War, 1939-1945--Prisoners and prisons
Contributors
  • Franz, Edmund F.
  • United States. Army. Counter Intelligence Corps
  • United States. Army. Office of Special Services
Types of material
  • Depositions

Chrisman, Miriam Usher

Miriam Chrisman Papers, 1937-2007.
13 boxes (9 linear feet).
Call no.: FS 128

Miriam U. Chrisman, 1964
Miriam U. Chrisman, 1964

A noted scholar of the social impact of the German Reformation, Miriam Usher Chrisman was born in Ithaca, New York, on May 20, 1920. With degrees from Smith College, American University, and Yale, she served for over thirty years on the faculty of the Department of History at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, becoming a well-loved professor and treasured mentor to a generation of students.

A faithful and colorful correspondent, the bulk of Miriam Chrisman’s papers consist of letters written to family and friends stretching from her college days at Smith through the year before her death. The bulk of the correspondence is with her husband, Donald Chrisman, an orthopedic surgeon who was enrolled at Harvard Medical School during their courtship. Soon after the Chrismans married in November 1943, Donald left for active duty in the Navy on the U.S.S. Baldwin. The couple’s war correspondence is unusually rich, offering insight on everything from the social responsibilities of married couples to their opinions on the progression of the war. Of particular note is a lengthy letter written by Donald during and immediately after D-Day in which he provides Miriam a real-time description of the events and his reactions as they unfold. Later letters document Miriam’s extensive travels including a trip around the world. .

Subjects
  • Smith College--Students
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of History
  • World War, 1939-1945
Contributors
  • Chrisman, Miriam Usher
Types of material
  • Letters (Correspondence)

Civilian Public Service Camps

Civilian Public Service Camp Newsletter Collection, 1941-1944.
1 box (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 537

Born out of a unique collaboration between the United States government and the historic peace churches, the first Civilian Public Service Camps were established in 1941 to provide conscientious objectors the option to perform alternative service under civilian command. Nearly 12,000 COs served in the 152 CPS camps in projects ranging from soil conservation, agriculture, and forestry to mental health. While the work was supposed to be of national importance, many of the men later complained that the labor was menial and not as important as they had hoped. Furthermore with no ability to earn wages and with their churches and families responsible for financing the camps, many COs, their wives and children found themselves impoverished both during and after the war.

During their time off, many of the men in the CPS camps published newsletters discussing education programs, which frequently involved religious study, work projects, and news about individuals sent to family and friends back home. This collections consists of newsletters created in camps in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Indiana, Maryland, and Colorado.

Subjects
  • Civilian Public Service--Periodicals
  • Conscientious objectors--United States
  • Pacifists--United States
  • World War, 1939-1945--Conscientious objectors--United States
Types of material
  • Newsletters

Davenport, Janina Smiertka

Janina Smiertka Davenport Papers, 1918-1990.
7 boxes (3 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 343

Janina Smiertka, 1934
Janina Smiertka, 1934

Raised in a Polish American family from Greenfield, Mass., Janina Smiertka Davenport was the epitome of a life-long learner. After graduating from Greenfield High School in 1933, Davenport received degrees from the Pratt Institute in Food Management and from the Franklin County Public School for Nurses (1937). In 1938, she began work as a nurse in the U.S. Navy, receiving two special commendations for meritorious service during the Second World War. She continued her formal and informal education later in life, receiving degrees from Arizona State University in 1958 and UMass Amherst in Russian and Eastern European Studies (1982). Davenport died in Greenfield in March 2002.

The Davenport Papers contain a thick sheaf of letters and documents pertaining to her Navy service before and during World War II, along with assorted biographical and genealogical data, materials collected during educational trips to Poland and elsewhere, and approximately one linear foot of family photographs and photo albums.

Subjects
  • Nurses--Massachusetts
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts
  • United States. Navy
  • World War, 1939-1945
Contributors
  • Davenport, Janina Smiertka
Types of material
  • Photographs

Dillon, Robert E.

Robert E. Dillon Papers, 1943-1946.
1 box (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 635

Robert E. Dillon, 1943
Robert E. Dillon, 1943

A working class native of Ware, Mass., Robert E. Dillon was a student at Massachusetts State College when he was drafted into the Army in 1943. After his induction at Fort Devens, Mass., and training for the Quartermaster Corps in Virginia and California, Dillon was assigned to duty as a mechanic and driver with the First Service Command. Stationed at Rest Camps number 5 and 6 in Khanspur, India (now Pakistan), Dillon’s company maintained the trucks and other vehicles used to carry supplies over the Himalayas to Chinese Nationalist forces. After he left the service in February 1946, having earned promotion to T/5, Dillon concluded his studies at UMass Amherst on the GI Bill and earned a doctorate in Marketing from Ohio State. He taught at the University of Cincinnati for many years until his death in 1985.

The Dillon Papers consist of 178 letters written by Dillon to his family during his service in World War II, along with several written to him and an assortment of documents and ephemera. Beginning with basic training, the letters provide an essentially comprehensive account of Dillon’s military experience and interesting insight into a relatively quiet, but sparsely documented theater of war.

Subjects
  • California--Description and travel
  • India--Description and travel
  • Pakistan--Description and travel
  • World War, 1939-1945
Contributors
  • Dillon, Robert E
Types of material
  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Menus
  • Photographs

Ebert, Siegried

Siegfried Ebert Papers, 1933-1986.
2 boxes (0.75 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 576

Ebert in his studio, ca.1965
Ebert in his studio, ca.1965

The graphic artist Siegfried Ebert had an important influence on the visual language of East German television and animated motion pictures. Born in Eibau on July 20, 1926, Ebert was drafted into the Luftwaffe in 1943, but shortly after going on active duty, he was severely wounded and taken prisoner by the English. After his release, Ebert shifted course in life, studying commercial art at the Kunstgewerbeschule Zittau and film at the Hochschule für bildende und angewandte Kunst in Wiessensee. He became one of the earliest artists to specialize in the new medium of television, working for Deutscher Fernsehfunk, doing graphic design and animation. A member of the Verband Bildender Künstler Deutschlands, he later worked on animated films for the DEFA studios. Suffering from ill health for the last several years of his life, Ebert suffered a heart attack in November 1985, and died at home shortly after his sixtieth birthday in 1986.

The Ebert Collection includes a small assortment of correspondence, awards, and biographical materials, along with examples of his graphic work for television and film. Among other unusual items in the collection are attractive handbills (small posters) for Progress and DEFA films, some original sketches, photographs and mockups of his artwork for television, and an assortment of personal and professional ephemera.

Subjects
  • Germany, East--Social life and customs
  • Graphic artists--Germany, East
  • Motion pictures--Germany, East
  • Prisoners of War--Germany
  • Television--Germany, East
  • World War, 1939-1945
Contributors
  • Ebert, Siegfried
  • Thorndike, Andrew
Types of material
  • Animation drawings
  • Ephemera
  • Handbills
  • Photographs
  • Posters

Enola Gay Controvery

Enola Gay Controversy Collection, 1995.
2 boxes (1 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 615

On January 30, 1995, the National Air and Space Museum capitulated to popular and political pressure and scuttled an exhibit they had planned to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War. Early in 1993, curators began to develop plans for an exhibit that would center around the Enola Gay, the B-29 Stratofortress bomber that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, but opposition from veterans’ groups rose almost immediately. By mid-summer, the Air Force Association and American Legion led opposition to the exhibit, fearing that it would not present a balanced view of the events and that it would focus exclusively on the “horrors of war” and an alleged “moral equivalence” between Japan and the United States. Although several attempts were made to rewrite the script of the exhibit, congressional and public pressure eventually led to the cancellation of the exhibit in January 1995 and to the resignation of the Director of the Museum, Martin Harwit, in May.

Collected by historian Waldo Heinrichs, the Enola Gay Controversy Collection contains the various versions of the scripts of the planned exhibition and copies of correspondence, memos, publications, and the three volumes of “Revisionism gone wrong: Analysis of the Enola Gay controversy” issued by the Air Force Association.

Subjects
  • Atomic bomb--Moral and ethical aspects
  • Enola Gay (Bomber)--Exhibitions--Political aspects
  • National Air and Space Museum--Exhibitions--Political aspects
Contributors
  • Heinrichs, Waldo

German Military Personnel

German Military Personnel Photograph Collection, ca. 1930-1939.
2 boxes (0.75 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 384

Photographs from the 1930s and 1940s featuring both major government officials such as Hitler, Goebbels, and Himmler, and lower ranking officials such as regional party leaders. Photographs of German soldiers with their various weapons, some possibly fighting, are also depicted. Includes film stills from the Allied invasion of Normandy and German Communist refugees in the Soviet Union.

Subjects
  • Germans--Photographs
  • Nazis--Photographs
  • World War, 1939-1945
Types of material
  • Photographs

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