Peter Melitz, Allen Emmert, Conrad Wilson of B Platton, 485 Coy in Italy during World War II. Photograph by Irving Penn. Courtesy of the Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs (AFS Archives.) This image cannot be reproduced outside the guidelines of United States Fair Use (17 U.S.C., Section 107) without advance permission from the AFS Archives.

Conrad Wilson, a Quaker and conscientious objector, volunteered as an ambulance driver with the American Field Service in 1944. He spent months on the Italian front with 485 Company, and became part of the effort to evacuate the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in the spring of 1945 after being transferred to 567 Company. Wilson rarely spoke about his war experience; the exception being a series of interview conducted with a writer, who compiled them into an unpublished memoir in 1999.

AFS Returnee Frances Wilson retraced some of her grandfather’s steps through Italy, after learning about the connection between her own AFS story and his. She then used her grandfather’s unpublished memoir to recount his fascinating story and describe the impact his AFS experience had on both of their lives in the Fall 2015 issue of the AFS Janus! You can read the article titled My Grandfather, the Pacifist on pages 10-11, available as a full download here.

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