Monthly Conference Series

Friends of the National World War II Memorial presents a Monthly Conference Series to learn more about the spirit of unity and shared purpose that defined the character of our country during World War II.  This series of monthly half-day virtual conferences features discussions with WWII veterans, war orphans, published authors, and other experts. New York Times best-selling author and Friends' Resident Historian Alex Kershaw moderates the discussions after each presentation.

Register today, for free, to join this unique digital experience.

September - April
Third Saturday Monthly
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET

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Saturday, February 17

The Asia-Pacific War and the Japanese-American experience.

10:00AM to 10:55AM (ET)
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X Troop: The Secret Jewish Commandos of World War II

Leah Garrett

Leah Garrett is a distinguished academic who has contributed significantly to Jewish studies, beginning her career with a PhD from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and serving in various prestigious roles including the Director of the Center for Jewish Studies at Hunter College. Her journey spans across multiple countries and institutions, reflecting her commitment to the field and her achievements as a Fulbright fellow, assistant professor, research professor, and deputy head in centers dedicated to Jewish civilization and history.

In June 1942, Winston Churchill initiated the formation of a commando unit known as X Troop, composed of Jewish refugees who escaped to Britain from the Third Reich, trained in counterintelligence and combat to fight against the Nazis. Leah Garrett's research unveils the heroic journeys of these individuals, from their formation in England through the battlefields of Europe to their participation in one of the war's most dramatic rescues, highlighting their significant contributions to the Allied victory.

11:00AM to 11:55AM (ET)
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Chamber Divers

Rachel Lance

Rachel Lance is an author and Assistant Consulting Professor at Duke University, where she conducts research out of their Hyperbaric Medicine facility. She enjoys scientific non-fiction, and is passionate about writing because it lets her share with the world her love of finding the answers to complex riddles.

In this presentation, Rachel reveals the critical yet perilous contributions of a group of scientific researchers who, through self-experimentation and innovation during the London air raids, developed essential reconnaissance and underwater breathing technologies that ensured the success of D-Day, based on documents declassified and researched by Rachel Lance. Led by JBS Haldane and Dr. Helen Spurway, this band of submarine researchers' work laid the groundwork for modern SEAL and submarine operations, highlighting their indispensable role in altering the course of WWII.

12:00PM to 1:00PM (ET)
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Interview with WWII Veteran Harry Stewart Jr.

Harry Stewart Jr. is a retired United States Army Air Forces officer and a Distinguished Flying Cross recipient who served in the 332nd Fighter Group. Harry shot down three German aircraft in a single day during World War II making him one of the few to achieve such a feat. He was also part of the team that won the United States Air Force's first "Top Gun" competition in 1949 and is one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen.

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