World War II prisoner of war camp - Stalag Luft I


World War II - Prisoners of War - Stalag Luft I 

A collection of stories, photos, art and information on Stalag Luft I


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Veterans History Project

David Meyer O'Shea started a project in memory of father (Earl D Meyer - 95th Infantry) after he died.  He records any WWII veteran on compact disk and gives them a free copy of the recording, so that they and their families can hear the veteran's words in their own voices telling of their time in the war. 
If you have anyone you would like him to interview and put on CD, he lives in Los Angeles and can do interviews in that area or will interview by telephone any where.
The Library of Congress has helped promote this project.  Copies of interviews are sent to The Library of Congress in Washington upon request.

Click here to inquire about scheduling the free interview.


Press Release the Library of Congress



WHAT: Veterans History Project volunteer will be conducting oral history interviews with wartime veterans. Veterans will be provided a free CD copy of the interview

WHO: David Meyer O’Shea began participating in the Veterans History Project at the 54th reunion of the 95th infantry in New Orleans in 2004 as a memorial to his late father, Earl D. Meyer, who was a radioman for Company H, 379th Regiment with the 95th Infantry.

WHEN: Noon to 3:30 p.m. Saturday March 4, and March 18, 2006. Interested veterans should call David Meyer O’Shea at (323) 469-9774 for an appointment. The project will resume Sundays in June and Saturdays in July.

WHERE: Los Angeles Public Library is providing interview space in its Central Library Branch (630 West 5th St.), Meeting Room B.

Authorized by legislation passed by Congress in 2000, the Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center is a nationwide volunteer effort to collect and preserve oral histories from America’s war veterans. The collection is housed at the Library of Congress. To date more than 40,000 individual submissions have been received. Those who are interested in participating are encouraged to e-mail the Veterans History Project at or to call toll-free (888) 371-5848 to request a free project kit. For more information about the Veterans History Project, visit



The Veteran Truth

At Central Library, One Man Records War Stories, Preserving Them for Generations to Come

by Andrew Moyle

Amid the weekend stillness of a Central Library meeting room, Stanley Levenson told the story of his service during and after World War II. A microphone clipped to his collar captured every word onto a CD bound for the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

David Meyer O'Shea
Veteran Stanley Levenson tells his World War II story to David Meyer O'Shea in the Central Library. O'Shea has spent many weekends in Downtown preserving the tales of servicemen. Photo by Gary Leonard.

Levenson's daughter Arleen Karno, owner of the Groundwork cafe in the Arts District, sat listening nearby, legs curled beneath her.

But when Levenson spoke, he spoke to David Meyer O'Shea.

"I haven't paid attention to these things in years," said Levenson, 79. "I think it's important that the government pay attention. My children all know about these things."

But many children, O'Shea included, don't know much about their fathers' time in the war. The onetime New York cabbie, storytelling actor and, for the next few months, harried tax accountant has devoted much of his free time over the last two years to recording their stories for posterity.

Every other weekend since the beginning of 2006, the Larchmont Village resident has been trekking to the Central Library in Downtown Los Angeles to sit with veterans and record them. Sometimes no one shows up to the walk-in sessions, and he spends his time editing tape.


Some stories are long and flowing, others choppy with painful memories. Many are hilarious, some grave. To O'Shea's ear, all are precious.

Unlike Levenson, who joined up late and at a young age to ultimately work the ground crew of an Army Air Corps special project developing remote-controlled planes, many older veterans saw the war at its peak of intensity, then tried to forget what they saw after it was over.

"People go out there with the experience of seeing something unspeakable," O'Shea said. "They can't put it into words, and so they can only talk about it with other people who had the same experience."

When he replays the recordings, O'Shea relives their enthusiasm, humor and pain. His blue eyes recall the looks on the faces of the men who are passing away at the rate of 1,400 a day.

"When I hear some people, there is a feeling that something is exquisite. There is a rare moment," O'Shea said. "It's people talking about what they felt or what they saw. It's all so vivid."

Family History

O'Shea father, Earl D. Meyer (O'Shea changed his professional name in the 1990s to stand out from another actor named David Meyer) served as an artillery radioman with the 95th Infantry Battalion, and saw the 1944 Battle of Metz up close. The bloody, three-month standoff in the French snow has been called the "Unknown Battle" because the story of the terrible Allied losses has largely escaped history books.

In 2003, Meyer began to open up about the battle and his part in it. O'Shea was just then getting into recording oral histories - a subject that had captivated him since his taxi-driving days in the late 1970s and early '80s - and he made a single recording of his father talking about the war.

Meyer attended a 95th Infantry Division reunion on a sweltering August weekend in that year. He returned home on a Sunday. On Wednesday, his doctor discovered advanced colon cancer. Three weeks later, he passed away.

The following year, after tax season but before the 95th's reunion, O'Shea was engrossed in acting classes taught by Jeffrey Tambor of "The Larry Sanders Show" and "Arrested Development" fame. One of his assignments was to write, in stream of consciousness, three pages first thing in the morning.

"I end up writing, 'Go to Baton Rouge where the reunion is. Bring the CD recorder and offer to record these veterans. And give it back to them so they or their children have copies of their fathers telling them stories,'" O'Shea said. "I stopped and I thought, well that's a good idea. Do it as a tribute to your father."

He followed through, made recordings and three months later followed the 95th on the unit's 60th anniversary pilgrimage to the site of the battle. In Metz, France.

Like all who contribute to the Veterans History Project, O'Shea records and submits for free (finagling frequent flyer miles and crashing in French guest rooms don't count). The project relies on volunteers to fill its searchable database of narratives and memorabilia, but few submit more than once, let alone 30 or 40 times, as O'Shea has done.

"Most [stories] are from a one-time donation," said Vicki Govro, a project spokeswoman who has worked with O'Shea. "The fact that he's on his own and isn't part of an organization is unusual."

O'Shea is definitely an unusual man. After the Hamilton, Ohio, native's turn as a cabbie, he moved to California in the early 1990s, getting some small work on TV shows. "I'm cast as a buffoon, usually," he said, chuckling. Recently he's been performing his one-man show Taxi Stories at Theater 150 in Ojai.

Levenson's story - culminating in him sending the world's first remote controlled plane-carried letter, a copy of which will accompany his recording to Washington - will be O'Shea's last recording for a while. He plans to start up again in the quiet side room of the Central Library after tax season dies down in June.

He will take all comers, veterans who served in or between the Big One and its sequels: Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf, even Afghanistan and Iraq. The stories will vary widely. Securing unedited, firsthand accounts of war is the important thing, now more than ever, O'Shea says.

"It's not like Vietnam, when you get the feed of the bodies. Everything's sanitized by the time we see it," he said. "The United States we live in now is based on the silence of 80-year-old men. Hollywood told their story. They couldn't tell their story."

O'Shea is ensuring that they get their chance.

For the Veterans History Project at the Los Angeles Central Library, contact David O'Shea at (213) 469-9774 or




This site created and maintained by Mary Smith and Barbara Freer, daughters of Dick Williams, Jr.