Petaluma woman shares WWII memories on YouTube history channel

Waltraud Noriel of Petaluma was a teenager in 1945, and her memories of life in Germany during World War II are as vivid today as they were then. On Friday, May 6, some of these stories will be included in an episode of “Memories of World War II,” a popular YouTube channel dedicated to capturing the memories of those who witnessed war and its aftermath.

“The mission of ‘Memoirs of WWI’ is to document and share the stories of WWII veterans while they are still with us,” said Joe Noriel, Waltraud’s son and the founder of History connection (, a Petaluma-based organization dedicated to collecting and sharing the stories of American veterans of all wars.

“‘Memoirs Of WWII’ is a series of short films dedicated to preserving the history of World War II and the memory of those who served,” read a statement on the series’ YouTube page. “Each month features a new episode, telling the personal story of an individual who endured the greatest conflict the earth has ever known. Through the personal stories of real World War II veterans, our goal is to honor their sacrifice and allow younger generations to understand what it was like to experience war and what lessons can be drawn from it.

Noriel points out that certain segments of “Memoirs of the Second World War”, to which he has no affiliation, can sometimes reach nearly a million views. As a dedicated historian and advocate for collecting and protecting such vital true stories, Noriel hopes the upcoming segment featuring his mother will receive the attention it deserves.

“This interview is kind of unique,” Noriel said. “As a teenager in 1945 when the Russians invaded, she lost her family and fought her way to safety in war-torn Germany. It is well documented that Russian reprisals were brutal , with widespread rape and torture of German women.The current Russian invasion brings back memories.

Waltraud Noriel’s interview is scheduled for Friday, May 6. To watch, log on to YouTube and search for “Memories of World War II.”