Slave Labor

This was sent to me by a friend of my dad’s awhile ago. It is a touching story, so enjoy!

What a heart wrenching story….and a reminder why we should remain steadfast in our commitment to the peoples of that nation.



This story is in Elmer Bendiner’s book, “The Fall of Fortresses”

Elmer Bendiner was a navigator in a B-17 during WW II. He tells this

story of a World War II bombing run over Kassel, Germany, and the

unexpected result of a direct hit on their gas tanks. “Our B-17, the

Tondelayo, was barraged by flak from Nazi antiaircraft guns. That was

not unusual, but on this particular occasion our gas tanks were hit.”

“Later, as I reflected on the miracle of a 20 millimeter shell piercing the

fuel tank without touching off an explosion, our pilot, Bohn Fawkes, told

me it was not quite that simple.” On the morning following the raid, Bohn

had gone down to ask our crew chief for that shell as a souvenir of

unbelievable luck.


The crew chief told Bohn that not just one but 11 shells had been found

in the gas tanks. 11 unexploded shells where only one was sufficient to

blast us out of the sky. It was as if the sea had been parted for us. A

near-miracle, I thought. Even after 35 years, so awesome an event leaves

me shaken, especially after I heard the rest of the story from Bohn.

He was told that the shells had been sent to the armorers to be defused.

The armorers told him that Intelligence had picked them up. They could

not say why at the time, but Bohn eventually sought out the answer.

“Apparently when the armorers opened each of those shells, they found

no explosive charge. They were as clean as a whistle and just as


Empty? Not all of them! One contained a carefully rolled piece of

paper. On it was a scrawl in Czech. The Intelligence people scoured our

base for a man who could read Czech. Eventually they found one to

decipher the note. Translated, the note read:

“This is all we can do for you now… using Jewish slave labor is never a

good idea.”


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