From my hometown to the Battlefield

€730 of €5,000 goal

Raised by 13 people in 42 months
My name is Eric Bijtelaar, I am an historical researcher from the Netherlands dedicated to the 99th Infantry Division also known as the Battle Babies during World War Two.

For the past couple of years I have been gathering artifacts, stories, photo's and letters from the 99th Infantry Division, during this time I have had the honor to communicate with veterans from this division and also creating tribute pages for relatives. My goal is to make a movie/documentary about the Division with working title "From my hometown to the Battlefield".

The story line is made from stories from veterans and will lead to their training facilities and embarkement area. This part of the documentary is to be filmed in the US.

From there the voyage goes to the UK where we visit several historical sites were the 99th has been stationed. Then the trip takes us to Le Havre France -> Aubel Belgium -> Belgium Ardennes Frontline and Germany.

The most important part of this project is to get the Veterans that are still with us interviewed and filmed as soon as possible. I do not want these men’s historical memories silenced by death.

This movie/documentary will be made to honor the men of the 99th Infantry Division, so that their relatives and future generations can learn about these great men who went to war and made it possible for us to live in freedom.

If you have any questions please contact me via my website

For further reference please visit:

Kind regards,
Eric Bijtelaar

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My documentary project, what has happened? For those unfamiliar with the project here some background information.

From my hometown to the battlefield a non profit initiative which will result in a documentary about the 99th Infantry division. last year we started a crowdfunding page to be able to visit several veterans and perform interviews.

A good friend from France Florent Plana has spend several days last year to interview several men from the 99th and the footage can be used for the documentary (To learn more about Florents project please visit:…)

I have interviewed two veterans from the 99th and one German veteran who fought against the 99th during the Bulge.

The key element is to collect as many interviews and stories and start organizing these interviews into the timeline created for this project.

Once that is done all the extra re-enactment scripts which support the interviews will be shot. As you can imagine this is time consuming and very costly so the progress may seem slow but since we have a tight budget and time is limited we are trying to be as effective as possible.

In the beginning of March I traveled to Texas with two good friends from the MIA 99th Project, Jean Louis Seel and Jean Philippe Speder. We were invited by the son from the late Captain Young B.Johnson where we enjoyed the fantastic Texas hospitality.

The main purpose of the trip was On thursday the 9th of March when we had meeting with the 393rd and 395th Officers and NCOs in Killeen. 3 99th Veterans were honored and Jean Philippe Speder and myself gave presentations. I managed to interview two veterans for the documentary about the 99th Infantry Division and I got to meet with several children from 99th veterans no longer with us. Remember the story on my website about the shoe? That will be a nice story used for the documentary.

Veterans we met:

Col (ret) Robert Hawn - 393rd B Co.
Sgt James R. MciLroy - 393rd F Co.
Ssgt Jay Burke - 393rd I Co.

So what is next? I am trying to organize with the help of a good friend and interview with a 277th VG veteran who fought against the 99th. I am going to interview via the phone or skype Ssgt Jay Burke.

Another friend is helping me with the re-enactment footage, this will dramatize the documentary and (This is my oppinion) will help reach the younger generations to come.
Me interviewing Ret. Col Robert Hawn
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Hi everyone first of all I would like to thank all of the contributors of this exciting project.

My good friend Florent Plana has already interviewed two 99th Infantry Division veterans and 2 more interviews have been scheduled.

In March I will be traveling to the US to interview several veterans which will also be part of the documentary and I will visit some of the historical spots (Camp Maxey).

Please keep sharing with your friends and family and if you know of any sponsors that might be interested please let them contact me.


WWII Veteran Nicholas "Nick" Gianopoulos, 92, served in Europe with the 393rd Infantry Regiment of the 99th Infantry Division. During the Battle of the Bulge, Nick was only 20 years old. His squad leader, Orlando J.Ricci,was just a little bit older. He really took care of the men under him like they were his young brothers. Sadly, he was killed in action on December 26, 1944 at the age of 26.
WWII Veteran Nicholas "Nick" Gianopoulos
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Hi all, I just wanted to share with you the latest update on our documentary project.

In the Footsteps of the 99th is a seven-part documentary, written by myself, with already some funding procured with kindness from friends and families of WWII veterans and other interested parties. It is dedicated to the 99th Infantry Division, a relatively green division that received its babtism of fire during the Battle of the Bulge.

The most important piece of the documentary is the interviewing of the veterans that are still with us and a good friend of mine Florent Plana from France who has already interviewed more then 100 veterans with his Flo Memoires project.

Without these interviews the documentary will not be complete so that is why I had to start a fundraising campaign to realize my dream to preserve and enhance the legacy of the 99th Infantry Division.

Already we gathered some material from relatives from veterans that will help creating this documentary but there is still alot of work to accomplish. Right now we are trying to partner with several filmmakers who have already shown their interest. (The Flying Dutchmen who currently is creating the short movie Airborne for the Hartenstein Museum and SYNTHESIS PRODUCTION from Belgium.
In December already 3 interviews with 99th Infantry Division veterans have been scheduled and we hope to be able to find more in the area.

The documentary will consist of original footage, interviews with the veterans, battlefield archeology and re-enactment footage. We created a short pitch video to give you an idea of how the end result will look like. (please have a look at the attached video)

Please help me bring my dream to fruition, the creation of this digital monument will help understand the many families of the 99th Infantry Division veterans what these brave men went through.

Eric Bijtelaar
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My friend Florent “Flo” Plana, 24, a historical researcher from France, began his journey to record interviews with veterans in September 2014 is willing to help out with the veteran interviews. We hope to get at least 4 to 5 interviews done.

From the end of September 2016 he will be traveling Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio for 5 months.

For more information on the work from Florent please visit the following link.
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€730 of €5,000 goal

Raised by 13 people in 42 months
Created June 9, 2015
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24 months ago
Timo Muller
26 months ago

Good luck Eric!

Ashley Kolashinski
27 months ago

It's not much, but I REALLY want to see and hear everything that my great grandfather was apart of with the 99th Inf.

Eugene A
31 months ago

An honorary effort, Eric. People need to know and remember sacrifices of those who fought in the WWII, so another one like that will never happen again.

Jim Putnam
42 months ago

Eric, You have been corresponding with my sister Judy Lewis. I am planning on visiting Brussels and the battlefields this September 11 & 12th. Any chance we can meet or helping with tour arrangements. Jim

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