St. Louis’ remarkable stories from the Holocaust: John Brawley


Since 1979, Vida “Sister” Goldman Prince has been Chairman of the Oral Histories Project, at the St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum. The project is dedicated to recording and preserving audio interviews of not only Holocaust Survivors, but also liberators of Nazi concentration camps and other non-Jewish witnesses living in Europe during World War II.

The museum was one of the first to begin gathering oral history projects so these voices and photographs will be displayed and future generations will continue to be witnesses to this catastrophic period of world history. In partnership with the Jewish Light, The St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum is allowing us to republish a portion of these Oral Histories project as a celebration of life and a crucial part of honoring and remembering the past. Please follow the provided links to additional recordings.

A Brief Bio

John Brawley was a First Lieutenant in the United States Army during World War II. He was a radio officer with the Signal Corp. He landed on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944 (D-Day) and was later stationed in Nordhausen when the slave labor camp there was liberated.

Mr. Brawley describes walking through the camp and seeing the starving people and the dead, the horror and the stench of the camp. He and the soldier he drove with took photographs of what they found when they entered Nordhausen and how it impacted on his feelings and his life.

Mr. Brawley wrote a letter to the editor of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat (published October 8-9, 1983) explaining what he had seen at Nordhausen concentration camp. This was in response to a letter published in the Post Dispatch saying there had been no Holocaust.

Excerpts of his oral history for the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center are included in his book, Anyway, We Won: Out of the Ozarks and into the Army in World War II, Walsworth Publishing Company, Marceline, Missouri. P. 287-292.

Listen to Tape 1 / Side 1 of John’s Oral History

Click here to listen to the additional taped recordings of John’s Oral History

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To view the full St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum Oral Histories archive, click here.