On June 6, 1944, under the code name Operation “Overlord,” the Allied forces landed over 155,000 American, British, and Canadian troops on the beaches of Normandy, France.
The D-Day invasion marked the opening of the long-awaited second front in Western Europe and is remembered as a major turning point in World War II. As wartime documents and later recollections by those who experienced that day suggest, some realized D-Day’s critical importance as soon as they experienced or learned of the invasion. Others, especially those who were prisoners of the Nazis and their collaborators, wondered if they would live long enough to see the liberation that the invasion appeared to promise.
The Museum’s collections contain a variety of perspectives on D-Day, from American and British servicemen to Holocaust survivors to civilians living in Europe at the time. Oral histories, diaries, and memoirs—some of which are excerpted here—offer a range of impressions and memories that reflect both the uncertainty and the hope that the day aroused in those who lived it.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is constantly adding to its collection of original documents, photographs, and artifacts relating to the events of the Holocaust and the experiences of individuals whose lives were directly impacted by those events, including survivors, rescuers, and liberators. If you or your family members have such materials and would be interested in speaking with our curators about a possible artifact donation, please fill out the online form, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, call 202.488.2649, or print and mail this form (PDF). Read more about common donations and questions from donors.