New Orleans, LA (June 17, 2011) — In conjunction with the special exhibits Joe Beyrle: Hero of Two Nations and The Great Patriotic War, The National WWII Museum will host United States Ambassador to the Russian Federation and son of Joe Beyrle, United States Ambassador to the Russian Federation for two public events on Tuesday, June 21, 2011:
From 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm in the Stage Door Canteen at The National WWII Museum,
Ambassador John R. Beyrle will deliver an address on the current state of U.S.–Russian affairs. Ambassador Beyrle was sworn in as the United States Ambassador to the Russian Federation in 2008. The Museum is proud to partner with the World Trade Center New Orleans, World Affairs Council of New Orleans, The University of New Orleans Centre Austria and the Consular Corps of New Orleans for this event. Cost is $65 for the public and $50 for members of the Museum and partner organizations. For more information, call 504-528-1944 x 343.
From 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm in the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion of The National WWII Museum, the children of Joseph Beyrle, including the Honorable John R. Beyrle, will discuss their father’s unique WWII experience. A reception will precede the event from 5:00 – 6:00 pm and it will be followed by Q&A and the opportunity to tour the exhibits, Joe Beyrle: Hero of Two Nations and The Great Patriotic War. This event is free and open to the public. Reservations are appreciated. For more information, call 504-528-1944 x 331.
The special exhibit, Joe Beyrle: Hero of Two Nations, explores the unique story of a young paratrooper, Joseph Beyrle, one of the only a handful of Americans to fight in both the American and Soviet Armies during World War II. The exhibit will be on display through August 7, 2011. An additional exhibit, The Great Patriotic War, showcases items from the Museum’s collection related to the Eastern Front.
After parachuting into Normandy on D-Day, Joe Beyrle was captured by the Germans. Battered and starved, he was moved through seven Nazi prison camps, tortured and interrogated. Following two failed attempts, Joe managed to escape his captors on a third try in January 1945. After running for a day, he oriented himself and sought out Soviet troops.
Describing himself as an “American comrade,” Joe joined the ranks of the Soviet army and marched together with them toward Berlin. After being seriously injured in battle, he met Marshal Georgiy Zhukov while convalescing in a Russian field hospital. The famous marshal provided him with a letter of transit to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, from where he eventually made his way home to Muskegon.
“World War II remains the defining event of the 20th Century, and remembrances of the fighting, and how it changed our world, are with us at every turn,” said U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation John Beyrle, the son of Joseph Beyrle.
“My father was intensely proud of the contributions of American and Allied forces to our common victory in that war,” Ambassador Beyrle recalled. “But he never failed to express his highest respect for bravery and generosity of the Soviet forces he fought with, who took him in when he was hungry and defenseless, and saved his life when he was gravely wounded.”
The exhibit is sponsored by the Blavatnik Family Foundation and organized by The Foundation for International Arts and Education, Bethesda, Maryland, and the State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia. For more information, visit www.nationalww2museum.org or call 504-528-1944 x 237.
The National WWII Museum in New Orleans tells the story of the American Experience in the war that changed the world — why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today. Dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and now designated by Congress as America’s National World War II Museum, it celebrates the American Spirit, the teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifice of the men and women who fought on the battlefront and the Home Front. For more information, call 877-813-3329 or 504-528-1944 or visit www.nationalww2museum.org. Follow us on Twitter at WWIImuseum or visit our Facebook fan page.