The United States and World War II Europe: Memory and Memorials

Michigan State University

Study Abroad Program 2007

Dr. Jeff Charnley, Faculty Program Leader

Mr. Benjamin Dettmar, AMS Graduate Student and Program Assistant

parliament bldg

Houses of Parliament at Dusk in London

Photo by Ryan Pandoff

Best Photos

Big Ben at Night

Big Ben at Dusk in London

Photo by Brittany Burkhart


Umbrellas 1

On the way to Buckingham Palace

London on a rainy day--before

Photo by Brittany Burkhart in consultation with Kelly Fulks!



Umbrella 2

On the way to Buckingham Palace

London on a rainy day--after

Photo taken by Ryan Pandoff with Brittany Burkhart's camera.

Umbrella 3

A final umbrella photo! This sums up our weather in London in 2007--one is good but two are better!

Photo by Brittany Burkhart


Queen's Guard

Yes the Queen's Guard was changed at Buckingham Palace as you can see from this photo!

Photo by Brittany Burkhart


Students in Normandy at a German Bunker destroyed by the Allies in action on D-Day



Nature's Fireworks--Mont St. Michel at Sunset in Normandy on the 4th of July

Photo by Mike Hankerd

Stained Glass

Stained Glass Window in the Church at Ste. Mere Eglise in Normandy depicting US paratroops descending to earth on D-Day

Photo by Luke Herford


Notre Dame Paris Rose Window

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Rose Window's Stained Glass

Photo by Sara Schroeder

Eiffel Tower at night

Eiffel Tower Illuminated at Night in Paris

Photo by Jesse Chase

Bastogne KM Marker 1147

Two Students at the Final KM marker on the Route of Liberty from Utah Beach to Bastogne, Belgium. This marker is number 1147 KM. The flame is a replica of the flame on the torch of the Statue of Liberty given by France to the United States.

Photo by Pete Serne

Patton Statue

Bronze Statue of Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.

in Luxembourg

Photo by Zack Wigman


Baby Knut

Baby Knut--the famous polar bear cub born December 5th last year at the Berlin Zoo--the first in more than 30 years!

To find out more about Knut, click here!

Photo by Brittany Burkhart

Holocaust Memorial Center Site Visit

Holocaust Memorial Center Site Visit

21 May 2007 Farmington Hills, Michigan

[To read Bekah Martin's site visit journal entry, click here!]

Stained Glass at Alumni Chapel MSU

On-campus Program

14-24 May 2007

[click on these small photos to go to the larger ones!]

Alumni Chapel MSU Stained Glass Windos

MSU Alumni Memorial Chapel

Stained Glass Window

[To read Kate Sweeney's site visit journal entry, click here!]

Alumni Chapel MSU with students

Students listen to the national anthems of the WWII Allies.

Students analyze plaque at Alumni Chapel

Students analyze the memorial inscription on the pulpit in the chapel purchased with funds donated by the family of John P. Hays.

Students in Class with Dr. Steglitz

Dr. Inge Steglitz of the Office of Study Abroad talks to the class about cross-cultural learning they would encounter while in Europe.

Big Ben and Students

Students and Big Ben at Westminster


22-30 June 2007

Big Ben and Group Photo

Bobbies and Students

These Bobbies appear to be enjoying this photo op!

Bloomsbury district and students

Students in the London Bloomsbury District near their dormitory, Commonwealth Hall

Churchill Museum

Students enjoyed our study at the Churchill Museum this afternoon.

Churchill's Underground Cabinet War Rooms

Students listen to audio commentary at the underground Cabinet War Rooms, Churchill's wartime headquarters near 10 Downing Street

Cabinet War Room London

Cabinet War Room in London as it was in 1945

Tower Bridge

They insisted I be included in at least one photo!

Tower Bridge in London is in the background.

HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast anchored in the Thames River across from the Tower of London is a WWII museum. The museum director gave us a "special tour" when he found out we were from Michigan State. He was born in Dearborn, Michigan when his father was Ford auto engineer!

gun turret

Inside the 5 inch gun turret of the HMS Belfast, these students were enjoying their tour!

Audio File of Miss Winifred Myers who served as a WREN in the British Navy.

[You need a fast internet connection as well as Real Media audio player to hear this interview.]

top deck

Group Photo on the top deck of the HMS Belfast--note all the new buildings in the background. This was the area around St. Paul's Cathedral that was destroyed in the German bombings called the London Blitz in 1940!

St. Paul's during the Blitz

This historic photo shows the St. Paul's Cathedral during the Blitz. Photo is from the Churchill Museum and although the church was hit several times, it survived largely intact. The area nearby was totally destroyed in the bombings and the fires that follwed.

Group Photo on St. Paul's Steps

Group Photo on St. Paul's steps

Inside St. Paul's is the American Memorial Chapel

from the British people in honor of the 28,000 American servicemen and women who were stationed in the UK and who died during WWII. Many were in the Army Air Corps. A book with all the names inscribed was given by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in honor of those who died.

Imperial War Museum

Wednesday, 27 June 2007, we studied at the Imperial War Museum the entire day. This day is Veterans Day in the UK and students were able to speak with veterans who were invited to the museum that day.


Students view 15 inch naval guns and shells fired by them from a British WWII era battleship.


Inside the museum, these students interview a local man who was a child during WWII who talked with them about life in London during the war. Left of the students is a searchlight from the war and to the right of them is a shell from the largest German artillery gun from the war. Behind them is "Monty", the exact armored vehicle Sir Bernard Montgomery used in his fight in the desert of North Africa when he defeated General Rommel.

students at imperial war museum

In the main hall of the museum, the students were able to see various weapons and planes from the war including the V-1 and V-2 rockets, a Spitfire and a US P-51 fighter and a German ME-109 that were suspended from the ceiling. They also studied special exhibits on the Holocaust, D-Day, Children and the War, and the 1940s House. The Blitz experience created the sights, sounds, and even smells of London during the 1940 bombings. The students recorded their reactions in their learning journals.

White cliffs

2 July we left Dover for France on the P&O Ferry

Here are the students and the White Cliffs in the background.


Normandy, France

2-4 July


Pegasus Bridge

Our first stop in Normady was Pegasus Bridge, the bridge over the Orne River Canal near Sword Beach. British troops captured this important bridge a few minutes after midnight on D-Day

J. Howard

Students analyze the war memorial and statue of British Major John Howard who led the successful capture of Pegasus Bridge.


This photos shows the students on the cliff overlooking Gold Beach near the village of Arromanches in Normandy. They are looking at the Mulberry, one of two artificial harbors made following D-Day to supply the Normandy operations.

Utah Beach

Students at Utah Beach

00 Kilometer Marker

on the Route of Liberty of the Allies from Normandy to Bastogne, Belgium

For many more photos from

Normandy, click here!


Group at the WWII memorial in Carentan, Normandy, France

The U.S. 101st Airborne Division liberated this important crossroads town near the Normandy Beaches.


Mont St. Michel on the Fourth of July,

site of our first group dinner!

It has been windy while we have been in Normandy and it has rained alot.

Omaha Beach Cemetery

Omaha Beach US Military Cemetery

Audio Files:

Comments by Mary Ann Evans and Sara Schroeder

Comments by Ben Dettmar


U.S. soldier graves at the Omaha Beach

Military Cemetery in Normandy

Audio Files:

Comments by Chris Erwin

Comments by Devin Ellenberg


"Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves" Statue at

Omaha Beach Military Cemetery

Audio Files:

Comments by Keagan Larson

Comments by Rob Gerrard


Arc de Triomphe


5-8 July

More Paris Photos, Click Here

To hear some music and sounds from the Paris Metro during our time there click on the files below:

Metro Sound 1

Metro Sound 2


Our group in front of the Eiffel Tower--

finally, it is not raining!


Students outside Les Invalides in Paris, the site of Napoleon's Tomb and the French Army Museum with an exhibit on World War II that they studied.

monument in paris

These students analyze a WWII war memorial in Paris near Notre Dame Cathedral.

Notre Dame

These student attended services at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Sunday.


In Luxembourg, the bank building in the background was near the headquarders of General Omar Bradley during WWII.

Luxembourg and Belgium

The Battle of the Bulge Area of the Ardennes Offensive, Dec 1944-Jan 1945

9-10 July

The student below examines the names of those U.S. soldiers killed by the German S.S. in the Malmedy Massacre in Belgium.

Malmedy Massacre


This student has studied a private Belgian memorial at the location in the Battle of the Bulge where the German S.S. had murdered 8 U.S. soldiers who had surrendered on 17 December 1944.

patton grave

Grave of General George S. Patton, Jr.

in Hamm U.S. Military Cemetery near Luxembourg

students at hamm

Students analyze memorials at the near General Patton's grave outside Luxembourg city..

hamm cemetery luxembourg

Hamm U.S. Military Cemetery near Luxembourg.

5,076 U.S. soldiers are buried here. More than 50,000 Americans visit this cemetery each year according to the American Battle Monuments Commission. Most of these soldiers were killed during the Battle of the Bulge.

Cochem 07

Enroute from Luxembourg to Koblenz, Germany,

we stopped for a break to see the castle in Cochem, along the river Mosel.

Rhine River Cruise, Koblenz


Weimar, Germany

11-13 July

Rhine Cruise Ship

Zack Wigman's photo of our Rhine Cruise Ship

Rhine Cruise 2

Enjoying the Rhine River Cruise after dinner.

Rhine Cruise 07

These students enjoyed our Rhine River dinner cruise!

Rathaus in Weimar

This is the Rathaus of Weimar.

[City Hall]

Sarah and Brats

Either this student is giving the "V" for Victory sign used in WWII OR she's on her second brat and brotchen at the Weimar Wine Festival.

Program Assistant Ben gives the answer below:

Ben Bratwurst:


Got langos? [Hungarian Elephant Ears!]

These students are enjoying the German wine festival in Weimar and are eating a fresh Hungarian version of a dessert pastry common at fairs. They had Thai food for their main meal and listened to a local German band playing Beach Boy songs and Elvis classics--what a country!

Buchenwald Gard Tower and Fence

Buchenwald Concentration Camp overlooking Weimar, Germany

DDR Memorial

Soviet style of East Germany's Memorial at Buchenwald. Students reflect on the view down to the city below. They are shocked at the size of the camp, just over 6,000 acres, about the same area of the campus of Michigan State!

Ruins of guard tower

Ruins of Guard Tower and Perimeter Fence

at Buchenwald

Little Camp Memorial

Students read the inscriptions on the walls of the Memorial of the "Little Camp" where many of the Jews at Buchenwald were held in dreadful conditions. Elie Wiesel was among those imprisoned in this area when he was a boy. His father died at Buchenwald just before the Americans arrived at Buchenwald in mid-April, 1945.

Hebrew Monument

Student write down the inscription at the Jewish Memorial at Buchewald.

Translated from Hebrew, it reads in English:

"So that the generation to come might know, the children, yet to be born, that they too may rise and declare to their children." (Psalm 78:6.)  

Buchenwald Crematorium

This is the Crematorium at Buchenwald Concentration Camp. The students were horrified by what they saw here.


Candle of Remembrance

Inside near the ovens, we lit this candle of remembrance (made in Israel) for all those murdered by the Nazis in this place.

Weimar hotel

We left Weimar on the morning of 14 July in beautiful weather. On the terrace of the Hilton Hotel in Weimar, these students almost said that it was

"too bright and too sunny" but they didn't want to jinx the Berlin weather forecast .

Berlin, Germany

14-18 July

Bundestag 2007

This group photo shows the German Bundestag in the background, the parliament building of the German Republic. It was almost completely destroyed during WWII. A British architect designed the new glass dome of the building.

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

Taken on one of Berlin's busiest shopping streets,

this photo shows the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, a significant reminder of the destruction in Berlin from World War II.

Holocaust Remembrance Sign

Also close to a major department store in Berlin, the KaDeWe, was this sign asking those who passed by the sign that "We should never forget these places of horror" and then it listed some of the significant German concentration camps.


Not far from the Bundestag above, this photo shows the Soviet WWII memorial in Berlin.

Holocaust Memorial

Students walk through the German memorial in Berlin to the Jews of Europe killed in the Holocaust. This memorial is located where important Nazi buildings once stood.

fuhrer bunker

Students study a cut-away diagram on the location in Berlin of Hitler's Fuhrerbunker Complex where he committed suicide in April 1945.

Berlin Wall

Students walking by one of the few remaining portions of the Berlin Wall, enroute to the Topographie of Terror. We started early this morning due to the heat.

It was almost 95 degrees when Zack Wigman took this photo in Berlin.

Top Terror

Students studied the Topographie of Terror

exhibits, an open air museum on the site of the Gestapo Headquarters in Berlin.

swim wannsee

Students enjoyed an afternoon swim, a pleasant break from the 97 degree heat this afternoon. They went to the Wannsee Beach that will celebrate its centennial in 2008. The lake is on the outskirts of Berlin.

Wannsee Conference House

House of the Wannsee Conference where on 20 January 1942 Nazis like Reinhard Heydrich and Adolph Eichmann met with other officials to implement the mass killings of the Jews they called,"The Final Solution." Our students had studied what happend here during the on-campus phase of the program when they analyzed the HBO film, Conspiracy, and read a photocopy of the one surviving secret copy of the conference protocols.

Wannsee House 2

Inside the house, in the room where the decision was made, students re-examine the conference minutes they had studied previously. An English translation was provided in the museum exhibit.


Among the photos in the Wannsee Conference house on exhibit, was this to the right that showed the same swimming beach the students enjoyed the day before our study here. This photo showed precisely WHY we were studying the WWII legacy in Europe during our study abroad. Students were shocked when they read the caption on the photo:

"'Jews are not allowed to enter. '

The Berlin Wannsee Resort at the start of the bathing season 15 May 1938"

They had gone through this exact admission gate to the beach the day before!





No Jews Allowed

All photos and student writings are used with the permission of the students.

Webpage last updated on 16 July 2007.