This online exhibit was created by Robin Smith of the History Office of the Aeronautical Systems Center at WPAFB, as part of the 2003 commemoration of the centenary of flight.
The fighter pilots of World War I were the first generation of flying men who enthralled people the world over with their daring and courage. Although the period of the first flying aces has been greatly romanticized, pilots had to endure great physical, emotional and mental hardships. Jews wanting to serve in the air forces of any nation encountered additional challenges. Yet many Jewish men in Germany persevered and became successful pilots, including Wilhelm Frankl, who shot down nineteen enemy planes and was awarded the "Blue Max." This web exhibit explores the history of Germany's Jewish fighter pilots, and the fate that befell the survivors when the Nazis rose to power.