Jeffrey Badger, author of the book Finding Granddad’s War, will tell us the story of his tracking down the WWII army pals of the grandfather he never knew, and talk about using military records – for both WWI and WWII – for family history research.
To discover the grandfather he never knew, Jeff Badger, armed with only a handful of photographs that his deceased grandfather brought home from WII, set off to find his grandfather's war buddies.
He found and interviewed 32 elderly Army-engineer veterans from his granddad's unit, including his grandfather's four best buddies. Their firsthand accounts created an intimate and honest portrait of their war: the work of an engineering maintenance company working behind the lines to repair equipment for the infantry, retrieving damaged equipment from the front, avoiding German snipers, building bridges in Germany under enemy fire, coping with the death of a best friend. One Jewish GI said the hardest part of the war was the anti-Semitism - not from the Germans, but from his fellow GI "buddies". The author then tracked down the Jewish GI's main antagonist to get his side of the story.
A book signing will follow the lecture.
Jeffrey Badger was born in Dublin, California and grew up on Ogden, Utah and Uvalde, Texas. He attended the University of Texas at Austin, Pennsylvania State University and Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, where he received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering. He has lived in six states and five countries and now works independently as a consultant/expert in the grinding of metal. In 1998 he became obsessed with finding and then telling the story of his deceased grandfather's WWII unit, the 978th Engineering Maintenance Company. He said, "You hear about the infantry and the great battles, but you don't hear about the other 90% of GIs who were fighting the war but in a different way. I wanted to tell their story." In his research he interviewed 32 veterans and also civilians in France, Holland and Germany who knew them in 1944/1945
Admission: JGS members are free, guests $5 at the door.
Location: UJA Building 130 East 59th Street New York, NY 10022 7th Floor