Brown, Donald R.



Brown, Donald R.


Donald R. Brown


William Vollano


Donald Brown volunteered for the draft, after one and a half years at Harvard. He was feeling guilty about being one of the few young men in upstate New York who was not serving. Shortly after entering military service, he was put into the ASTP program, and given a choice of which college he wanted to go to for his studies. He chose Indiana State, where he later met his wife. Eventually, he was assigned to a Medical Unit of the 20th Armored Division and was sent to Europe. After months of minor skirmishes, his unit took part in a major battle outside of Munich, where there were many casualties. On May 1, 1945, his unit was sent to Dachau near Munich, "before it was cleaned up for the Tourists." He never forgot what he saw there. After V-E Day, his unit was meant to be sent to the Pacific. On one of the train trips through France, he was told to go up to one of the front cars. He chose to stay with his unit, which turned out to be a lifesaving choice. The first four cars of the train were completely destroyed in a wreck. While on furlough, just prior to being sent to the Pacific, he got married, and soon afterwards, the Japanese surrendered. Donald spent 13 years teaching at Berkeley after having completed his studies. There, he was eventually fired because he refused to sign a loyalty agreement. He went to Bryn Mawr College, and in 1964, began teaching in the Psychology Department at the University of Michigan, where he retired in 1997. He currently lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and teaches a class on WWII at the University.

Date Span

Dates of Service


Drafted; United States Army; 20th Armored Division; World War, 1939-1945; Second World War - European Theater; United States; Private First Class


Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Collection Location


Spatial Coverage

Second World War - European Theater; United States

Item sets