Oral History Archives

Frank Razzano – Survivor
Washington, D.C.-based attorney Frank Razzano was a registered guest of the World Trade Center Marriott Hotel. After being unexpectedly roused from sleep by a series of bangs, Razzano rushed out of his room, taking nothing with him as he escaped the disaster scene. Months later, the jacket that Razzano had planned to wear that morning was salvaged at ground zero and returned to him by the NYPD WTC Property Recovery Unit. Razzano recounted his journey to safety in a recorded interview and donated his salvaged personal items to the Museum as a symbol of his survival.

Bruno Dellinger – Survivor
A World Trade Center survivor, Bruno Dellinger managed his small company from an office on the 47th floor of the North Tower, providing art consultation services and developing commercial and cultural ties between New York and various regions in his home country of France. Listen as he recalls the first stages of his journey to safety, describing fellow survivors making way for injured civilians in the stairwell and the collapse of the South Tower moments after he arrived at street level.

Dianne DeFontes – Survivor
A receptionist at a law firm on the 89th floor of the North Tower, Dianne DeFontes felt the impact of American Airlines Flight 11 strike the building a few floors above her desk. As DeFontes and her colleagues made phone calls to loved ones and prepared to evacuate, Frank DeMartini, a long-time employee of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey ushered the group to a distant stairwell, where he and a co-worker, Pablo Ortiz, had broken through a jammed door. In her oral history, DeFontes recalls the vital assistance provided by DeMartini and Ortiz, who lost their lives helping others, and her long descent through stairwells that were at times dark and smoky.

Tom Canavan – Survivor
Tom Canavan was a securities specialist working in a bank on the 47th floor of the North Tower. While trying to evacuate the building, he was trapped in the World Trade Center underground shopping mall as the South Tower collapsed. Canavan escaped to safety using a stairwell that has come to be known as the “Survivors’ Stairs.”

Hazem & Liz Gamal – Survivors
Hazem Gamal worked in the South Tower of the World Trade Center and walked through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel covered in dust and debris after witnessing the collapse of his office building. Liz Gamal recounts hours of worry as she waited to receive word that he had made it to safety. The Gamals recall their experiences and describe receiving a package of letters that somehow survived the devastation, and was returned to them by a construction worker who preserved the papers not knowing whether the owners had perished in the attack.