"My grandma knew a World War II vet living in a nursing home nearby, Ed Dabrowski. He was in the Polish air force. When Germany invaded, he was taken prisoner and escaped, then fought in Warsaw and was captured again and was only released at the end of the war. He was still a tough guy. I talked to him in March 2011." Since then, he's interviewed forty WWII vets--pretty remarkable for a teenager who's still too young to drive.
Some of the most harrowing stories came from a Holocaust survivor, Zygie Allweiss. "He was in a death march with his family ... holding hands with his uncle, and he heard a big boom. One of the SS guards had blown his uncle's head off for no reason. And [Allweiss] got up and kept walking."
A neighbor's father, George Wiertella, "fought in Europe against the Germans. He saw lots of combat ... but he also liberated Dachau. He was one of the first Americans in the camp, and he saw bodies stacked up and the conveyor belts and the ovens. He took pictures and gave [the negatives] to a German in town to develop. But the German threw them out. He didn't want anyone to know."
The teen has also interviewed a couple of German vets. One was "Wolfgang Kloth, a Panzer tank commander. He fought the Russians in the battle of Kursk, the biggest tank battle of all time. He was a prisoner of war from '45 through '48 ... He came here in the early fifties because, he said, he wanted to live in a country that won wars."