(Senate - May 23, 2013)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.


[Pages S3835-S3836]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                       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 
  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.