Our dear friend and hero Joe Moser passed away quietly at home on December 2, 2015. He was surrounded by his loving family. Memorial services were held December 11 with a Celebration of Life service in Ferndale, Washington, December 12. Over five hundred were in attendance to celebrate his remarkable life. Tributes from around the nation were read including from a Brigadier General and the Seattle Seahawks. Command Chief Master Sergeant Rick Arnold who arranged for Joe to finally receive his DFC medal, led all the veterans in a moving, final salute. At his burial service, Jeff Geer of the Bravo 369 Foundation arranged for a flyover of WWII vintage aircraft including the missing man formation.
On behalf of Joe’s family, friends and thousands of admirers who reached out to Joe since his story was told, I wish to thank all of you for your many expressions of love and support for Joe and his family.
His book “A Fighter Pilot in Buchenwald,” and the documentary featuring Joe, “Lost Airmen of Buchenwald” can normally be purchased at your local bookstore or at Amazon. However, we recently found out that they had been sold out. For those in our community near Bellingham, we know that Village Books in Bellingham and in their new store in Lynden are carrying Joe’s book. Amazon reports they are out of stock but you can order there and they should be getting more books in soon as well.
Gerald & Lynne Baron
Here is a brief video of Joe’s committal service with military honors at Woodlawn Cemetery, Ferndale, WA on December 11, 2015:
Dean Kahn of the Belllingham Herald did a wonderful job with this story about Joe and the film “Lost Airmen of Buchenwald.” Less than two weeks away now and it is getting very exciting. With the tremendous interest we have had, the large numbers of tickets pre-sold I’m starting to be concerned that those without tickets might be disappointed. A wonderful problem to have but would be frustrating for those who came. It would just be such a tribute to Joe and the 168 flyers featured in this film to have this premiere a standing room only event!
We are very excited that the documentary about the 168 Allied flyers sent to Buchenwald is nearing completion. It is called “Lost Airmen of Buchenwald,” and it is produced by Mike Dorsey. The world premiere will be held July 16, 2011 at the Mount Baker Theatre in Bellingham, WA. Joe Moser, of course, will be there and we just have word that one of his fellow survivors, Ed Carter-Edwards from Ontario, Canada will be traveling to Bellingham for the premiere.
We won’t be providing information about the film and the premiere on this site (I apologize for being lax in monitoring this site), but instead you can find it more information here: http://www.facebook.com/lostairmen. Please feel free to add comments, ask questions, send Joe a message on that site.
If you would like to see the film trailer, you can view it here: Lost Airmen trailer.
If you can make it to the premiere, we suggest you get your tickets early. I know that is not normal to buy movie tickets in advance but Mount Baker Theatre is selling advanced seats for this special showing and you can select the seats you want. They are going very fast so don’t be disappointed, get those tickets now. You can get more info about the premiere and order tickets here.
Joe, two daughters and a grandson were traveling along with cinematographer Chris Baron to Buchenwald yesterday. While at SeaTac airport, they were met by a TV news crew from KING5, the leading regional TV news channel. KING5’s Glenn Farley did an outstanding job with this story which in brief news format, gives some of the highlights of Joe’s experiences and the meaning behind this incredible trip back to Buchenwald.
This April is the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Buchenwald by American troops. The Buchenwald Memorial society and the German government have invited former prisoners and liberators to help celebrate. The German government is covering the cost of Joe’s trip plus an accompanying family member.
Joe, two daughters and a grandson will be leaving for Germany on Thursday, April 8 returning April 17. While at Buchenwald they will participate in receptions with the mayor of Weimar, Catholic Mass, dinner and a wreath-laying ceremony. Joe will also be interviewed a number of German students who are conducting an oral history project focusing the Allied airmen held in Buchenwald. There is growing recognition about this little known event and Joe is one of the few survivors able to provide first-hand information about the terrible conditions and brutality in this infamous work camp.
A documentary film crew will be accompanying Joe to Buchenwald, then travel with him to France to film where he bailed out from his stricken P-38, talk to family members of the farmers who helped him, and follow his path after capture from Marchefroy, to Paris, to Buchenwald. The documentary film, “Jump Into Hell” is being produced by Mike Dorsey, an established California-based filmmaker and will focus on Joe Moser and Lt. Col. E.C. “Easy” Freeman, another American airman held in Buchenwald. Freeman is the grandfather of filmmaker Dorsey.
Joe is just about as excited as he could be. He and his wife Jean will be the special guests of the Seattle Mariners this coming Sunday when Joe will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Given that they are two of the biggest Mariner’s fans around this couldn’t be more exciting. To all of you in the Northwest, come and cheer Joe on! Hopefully, we’ll have pictures and a story to follow after the big game.
When we heard that President Obama was going to visit Buchenwald on June 5, Anne Rasmussen–our intrepid publicist and publication manager–went to work on trying to get the White House’s attention. What an opportunity for the president to acknowledge that 82 Americans have never been recognized as having suffered through the Nazi oppression of Buchenwald–including Joe Moser. Marilyn Walton, whose father was in Stalag Luft III, brought this opportunity to our attention, wrote a letter to the White House and got us in contact with Bernd Schmidt, the head of the U.S. Veterans Friends association in Germany.
Mr. Schmidt did all he could to meet with President Obama and had prepared for him several gifts, including a copy of “A Fighter Pilot in Buchenwald.” While he was not able to get the meeting he so earnestly desired, his efforts were not in vain at all. We just received this translation of a newspaper story from the Thuringia State Newspaper recording Mr. Schmidt’s efforts and the gifts that are being sent now through the Consulate.
Our very sincere thanks to Mr. Schmidt and to Marilyn Walton–we will press on together to get the recognition these men so richly deserve.
Translation from the German [by Cordula D. Brown]
Thuringian State Newspaper, June 6th, 2009
Keep the memories alive
Bernd Schmidt of the U.S. Veterans Friends, too, was hoping in vain for a meeting
By Christiane Weber
Weimar. [tlz] His hope to meet with the American president in person, was not fulfilled. “I was trying to get accreditation”, said Bernd Schmidt, founder [in 2001] and highly decorated member of the U.S. Veterans Friends in Germany. He had contacted the Consulate General, called the hot line, applied to the Memorial site Buchenwald, and had sent a mail to the White House. In vain. This was even more disappointing because Schmidt – together with American veterans – had prepared a special gift: he intended to present the President with letters and three books by veterans.
Nevertheless, Schmidt was delighted with the President’s visit. Somehow it was “an honor for our work”, said Schmidt. Even without the personal encounter, Schmidt and his friends will continue their work more motivated than ever. The small group of friends with the declared aim to keep alive the memory of the American soldiers who liberated Thuringia in 1945, to document historical facts in the vicinity, to foster friendship and understanding between Germany and the U.S., especially between American veterans and German people. They are in close contact to American veterans and organize trips for them to come and meet them. Among others, a photo exhibit from the Algoet collection with pictures of the KZ liberation was placed in Buchenwald.
One of the letters intended for the President is by Gerald Virgil Myers, member of the 80th Infantry Division who liberated Weimar and arrived in Buchenwald shortly afterwards. He describes the historic events in minute detail. “This place teaches us to stay vigilant always”, emphasized Barack Obama in his speech after his tour of the memorial site Buchenwald. The memory would have to be kept awake. And this is exactly what the Friends of theVeterans are doing. Even more important are books like the ones by the historian Marilyn Jeffers Walton and by Gerald R. Baron which describe the less well know fate of Josef A. Moser and his 81 friends and fellow U.S. pilots who were prisoners of war in Buchenwald. Bernd Schmidt will send the President these books now via Consulate General.
The disappointment did not in any way detract from Bernd Schmidt’s motivation. He is firmly convinced that Obamas visit was of extraordinary help to keep the history alive for the future.
Just found out that Pres Obama will visit Buchenwald on June 5. We are doing our best to help convey to his staff that this would be a wonderful opportunity to recognize the 82 Americans who were held there for two months and who narrowly averted execution. These heroes have never been officially recognized by our government, the German government and the Buchenwald memorial. America is the only nation not officially represented as having victims included in the Buchenwald memorials. If anyone can assist in helping us rectify this injustice, please let us know.
Joe has been front a tv camera more times in the last while than I am sure he ever dreamed he would be. Here is a segment from a local television production called Experience Northwest from KVOS TV. Actually two videos for the two different segments: