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One Of The Surviving “Lost Airmen” Tells Us How He Fled The Nazis While Stranded Behind Enemy Lines

August 16, 2022
00:00 17:21
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Encircled by Nazis and left abandoned after a team of British secret agents failed to secure their escape, eighteen U.S. airmen were left with little choice: flee or be killed. Lost Airmen: The Epic Rescue of WWII U.S. Bomber Crews Stranded behind Enemy Lines is a riveting narrative of survival and brotherhood told by the historian son of one of those gritty survivors, Charles E. Stanley Jr.

In winter 1944, Yugoslav peasants looked to the sky to see American airmen—dozens of them—parachuting from crippled bombers. Some landed in safety. Others were slaughtered by German fire. Lost Airmen is the shocking true story of the eighteen men who beat all odds to escape the grip of the Nazis. Some found harbor with the Chetnik royalist faction led by General Mihailovic. Most were herded by Marshal Tito’s Partisans into a small town. There they were trapped. Extreme weather closed the skies for an air rescue. The Germans blocked the path to the sea. British secret agents extracted sixty-six airmen but had to leave the rest behind. The Partisans were desperate to rid themselves of the soldiers and forced them to attempt the treacherous winter crossing of the Dinaric Alps at the prodding of a gun, and no turning back.

Drawing on over twenty years of research, dozens of interviews and previously unpublished letters, diaries, and memoirs written by the airmen, Stanley recounts the deadly journey across the blizzard-swept Dinaric Alps during the worst winter of the twentieth century—and the stories of the heroic men who fought impossible odds to keep their brothers-in-arms alive.

In this episode, Joe Foto tells his story.

Also, check out author Charles Stanley, Jr, and feel free to go to this website at

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Meet Your Host
Meet Your Host
Josh Cohen is a journalist and commentator living out of the Midwest.

He has written for a number of reputable publications.

His fascination with history is in the story of our existence and how it is told. Keeping the tradition of storytelling alive in Eyewitness History is what drives him.
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