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Proceedings, Debates of the U.S. Congress
May 23, 2013
113th Congress, 1st Session
Issue: Vol. 159, No. 74 — Daily Edition
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TRIBUTE TO GEORGE W. SCOTT
(Senate - May 23, 2013)
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[Pages S3835-S3836] TRIBUTE TO GEORGE W. SCOTT Mr. DURBIN. I would like to take a few minutes to recognize a true American hero from my home State of Illinois. George W. Scott of Williamsville, IL, was an airman in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II and is a survivor of a group of airmen who were imprisoned at the Buchenwald Concentration Camp by the Nazi government. Many people have heard of Buchenwald, one of the first and one of the largest concentration camps in Germany. But few people have heard the story of the Lost Airmen of Buchenwald, of which George was one. In 1944, George was flying a Douglas A-20 Havoc aircraft barely 500 feet off the ground over France when he was shot down by German anti- aircraft guns. He was able to escape the aircraft before it crashed, and he escaped capture for a short time. George hid in bushes and in barns. He even milked a few cows for nourishment. He was fortunate to be taken in by a French family who provided food and shelter. But soon after, he was discovered by the Nazi patrols scouring France for resistance fighters or Allied soldiers and airmen. George was transported to Buchenwald Concentration Camp in Germany, where he joined 168 Allied airmen from six countries. These airmen were not afforded the Prisoner of War protections outlined in The Hague and Geneva Conventions. Instead, they were classified as ``Terrorflieger,'' or terror flyers, considered criminals and spies, and were not given a trial. At Buchenwald, the conditions were unimaginable. Many prisoners starved to death within 3 months of imprisonment. Prisoners were beaten, scarcely fed, and forced to work grueling shifts. But the Allied airmen organized themselves into units based on their nationality, appointed commanding officers, and instilled discipline and order. This self-imposed military hierarchy helped them to build morale, work as a team, and increase their chances of survival. But those chances remained low. George and his fellow airmen were scheduled to be executed at Buchenwald on the orders of Adolf Hitler. Facing their impending execution, the airmen managed to pass a note detailing their captivity in the camp to the nearby Luftwaffe. After visiting the camp, German Luftwaffe officers demanded that the airmen be transferred to their custody. George and his fellow airmen were transferred to a POW camp and liberated when the Russian Army reached the camp in 1945. It is a remarkable story and one that the U.S. Government kept quiet after the war. Yet George and his fellow airmen deserve immense credit and long-overdue recognition for their immeasurable contribution to the Allied war effort and their unimaginable pain and suffering. When asked how George managed, at 19 years old, to survive in the unbearable conditions of Buchenwald, he says [[Page S3836]] that he thought often of his mother and maintained the resolve that ``every time they hit you, you just get back up.'' Now, some 69 years later, George lives just outside of my hometown of Springfield, in Williamsville, IL. He is blessed with a wonderful family, who is steeped in pride and loves him deeply. I am particularly impressed by George's dedication to our nation, and I hope to express the thanks of a grateful Nation for his service. George is a shining example of the American ideal, fighting for what is right in the face of immense adversity. ____________________