Research Histories TranslationThe World War II History Project is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to educating current and future generations, with a particular focus on reconciliation that leads to understanding and peace.
Heather SteeleFounder, oral historian, archival researcher, chief volunteer
Heather Steele is an American who speaks German and French, and who lived, worked, and studied in Berlin shortly after the Wall came down. She spent five years exploring the city’s World War II legacy before returning to the States for a University of Chicago MBA. She then joined the corporate world, ran a $200 million product line, and subsequently founded and ran a police foundation which won over $2.2 million in federal Department of Justice grants to provide training to justice professionals.
In 2010, she started interviewing American, British, Canadian, French and German World War II veterans and conducting archival research into their stories. By 2015, she had gathered over 100 interviews with American and Allied veterans, and over 100 interviews with German veterans, in their own languages. Her determination to uncover archival documents relevant to their stories has led to a deeper understanding of WWII holdings in American and European archives.
In 2013, she founded the World War II History Project as a vehicle to educate the public about World War II, and in 2016, she started helping professors, historians, universities, authors, and family members with archival research on a volunteer basis.
She has guided veterans and family members on tours of European battlefields that are meaningful to them – to visit the sites where they, their fathers and grandfathers fought, and in some cases, where they made the ultimate sacrifice and are now buried.
Our Volunteer Governing Board
Andy is a pilot, skydiver, photographer, and marksman extraordinaire. He holds a plethora of aviation records, and reached international renown as one of the first skydiving aerial photographers. He has had a day named after him in Oklahoma. Although in his 80’s, Andy works out at Cross-Fit at least six times a week.
Edgar KlugmanPresident of the Board
Ed was born in Nürnberg into a longstanding German Jewish family. Just before the outbreak of the war in 1939, he luckily made the last Kindertransport out of Germany. He served for the Americans in the war. He has spent his whole life working for interpersonal, intergenerational and international understanding and peace.
Heather SteeleCEO and Treasurer
Heather founded the WWII History Project in 2013 and has acted as CEO, Lead Historian and Treasurer since then. Her goal is to ensure better understanding of the war. The true stories of men, women and children who survived it should never be forgotten.
Our Volunteer Advisory Board
Dr. Michael WolffsohnAdvisor
Dr. Michael Wolffsohn is retired Professor of Modern History, political scientist, writer and commentator. He is one of Germany’s leading experts on International Relations, Military Affairs, German History and Politics, Religion and Politics, and the varied dimensions of German-Jewish-Israeli relations. Dr. Wolffsohn is the son of a German Jewish merchant family who fled Germany in 1939. He was born in Tel Aviv. Together with his parents he came to West-Berlin in 1954. He served in the Israeli Army from 1967 to 1970. He studied History, Political Science and Economics in Berlin, Tel Aviv und New York and taught Modern History in Munich at the University of the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr Universitaet) from 1981 to 2012. He has published more than 30 books including Israel (8th German edition, 2016 – US/GB, 1987), Eternal Guilt (1994), Whose Holy Land (13th German ed. 2016), and Towards World Peace (German ed. 2015).
Dr. Bryan Mark RiggAdvisor
Dr. Bryan Mark Rigg received his Bachelor’s degree from Yale University and his Ph.D. from Cambridge University. As part of his research for his Ph.D., Bryan interviewed 400 former German World War II soldiers who were Jewish, or had Jewish parents or grandparents. These interviews formed not only the basis for his degree, but also for the books published in 2002 (Hitlers Jewish Soldiers), 2006 (Rescued from the Reich) and 2009 (Lives of Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers). Bryan served in the Israeli army. After also serving as an officer in the US Marine Corps, he became a professor at Southern Methodist University and American Military University from 2000 to 2006. He continues to write books and mine the wealth of information he collected as a graduate student. His assembled documents, videotapes, and wartime memoirs on the subject are presented as the Bryan Mark Rigg Collection at the Military Archives branch of the Federal German Archives (Bundesarchiv) in Freiburg, Germany.
Jim GreshikFormer President
Jim is a 30-year Air Force veteran Command Pilot with 4,600 hours of flying time in a variety of aircraft. He served three tours in Vietnam, flying an air refueling tanker and the O-2A aircraft, as well as in the night forward air controller mission over Laos. He flew a total of 243 combat missions, accumulating nearly 900 hours combat time. In civilian life, Jim was a pilot with Eastern and United Airlines for 30 years. He retired from United in 2002 as a Boeing 727 Captain, and in 2005 was inducted into the Wisconsin Air National Guard HOF in recognition of his contributions to the USAF and National Guard.