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LAKEHURST — From a hangar in Germany, a son watched with wonderment as his father led him to the largest aircraft the world had seen. It was 1936 when Horst Schirmer stood under the 804-foot-long, lighter-than-air zeppelin that was nearly the length of three football fields. There are only a handful of people left with a direct connection to the fiery catastrophe that befell the world’s biggest airship.
The paper also obtained a copy of the remembrances the last surviving passenger from that night sent to the 75th anniversary commemoration being held this weekend in Toms River and Lakehurst, and research also included interviews with historians and a NASA scientist who has studied the cause of the Hindenburg fire for decades. In less than a minute, the renewed hope collapsed in a fiery heap on a sandy field in New Jersey. Along with the Titanic sinking in 1912 and the Space Shuttle Challenger exploding in 1986, the Hindenburg burning and crashing is one of the three most famous passenger craft disasters of the 20th century. The submarine-shaped airship wafting over Ocean County like a dandelion seed as it calmly makes its way to a mooring mast at the Naval Air Station in Lakehurst. On May 6, 1937 the German dirigible airship Hindenburg caught fire and crashed upon landing in Lakehurst New Jersey. The burning zeppelin crashing, tail first, then collapsing like an accordion as a halo of fire surrounds it and members of the ground crew run like hell.
The word "Hindenburg" on the side of the airship being burned away as the fireball turns the world’s largest aircraft into a glowing skeleton of disintegrating bones.
The Hindenburg was up in flames in barely more than a half-minute, giving passengers and crew about the time of a TV commercial to escape with their lives.
Thirty-five passengers and crew on board and one ground crew member, 51-year-old Allen Hagaman of Jackson, were killed. An acrobat on board was able to use his tumbling skills to save his life and escape with only an injured ankle. The Hindenburg captain did not fare as well, being burned so badly that he spent the rest of his life wearing a prosthetic nose whenever he left his house. Three-quarters of a century later, an exact cause for the disaster still isn’t known, though theories abound. Whatever caused it, the disaster essentially ended the giant airship era and provided a gloomy lead-up to World War II.
Morrison, a dapper announcer wearing a suit and topcoat, was one of the few reporters that day who awaited the arrival of the Hindenburg, delayed more than 12 hours because of the wind and rain. The year before, the Hindenburg made 10 successful trips to Lakehurst, said Carl Jablonski, president of the Navy Lakehurst Historical Society, a 200-plus member group that preserves the history of the McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst joint base.
Morrison, who died at age 83 in 1989, was testing new recording equipment and conducting a broadcast that was to run on delay on radio station WLS in Illinois.
People on the ground were waiting to be picked up by the Hindenburg for a return flight to Europe to see the coronation of King George VI, father of Queen Elizabeth II and grandfather of Prince Charles. Buchanan, a Toms River teenager who was a member of the civilian ground crew at the Naval Air Station in Lakehurst, waited for the Hindenburg to land. The job, which required grabbing hold of ropes lowered about 100 feet from the Hindenburg and using the body weight of the ground crew to help secure the mammoth silver airship, paid a dollar a day — not bad for a high school student in the Depression.
His heavy wool collared sweater and hair were getting drenched by the cold rain — which later turned out to be his good fortune. Star-Ledger file photo1937 copy photo of the Doehner children before boarding the Hindenburg in Germany on it's fateful flight 75 years ago. It drifted in the direction of the ground crew, and Buchanan heard the roar of the engines. Buchanan saw sparks coming out of the airship and heard a "backfire," but didn’t think too much about it at first.
But because he had been drenched by the storm during the long wait for the Hindenburg, the damage wasn’t worse.
There have been passenger craft disasters that have killed more people, but the Hindenburg’s burning and crashing resonates to this day because it was filmed as it happened, and became the subject of newsreels shown in movie theaters throughout America. The theories about what brought down the Hindenburg never rang true to Addison Bain, a NASA scientist who knew hydrogen couldn’t "explode" or produce the reddish-orange flames described by witnesses.
Not knowing whether his theory would work in a test environment, he cut a small piece of Hindenburg fabric that he had procured, then ignited it about five years ago.
It became engulfed in flames as quickly as the Hindenburg did in the old footage, lending credence to his theory.
Schirmer, who flew on the Hindenburg as a boy in Germany the year before the Lakehurst disaster, went to school with children of Hindenburg crew members and said it "plagues" him all these years later not to know what caused the disaster. That, said surviving ground crew member Buchanan, is what will keep people talking about the Hindenburg for years to come. From local news to politics to entertainment and sports, the twice daily Right Now eNewsletter has all of the New Jersey news you need! In 1924, 18-year-old Mae Keene went to work at one of these manufacturing plants, the Waterbury Clock Company of Vermont. The highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces is the Victoria Cross. John Cruickshank was the pilot of a PBY Catalina airplane whose mission it was to seek out and destroy German U-boats during World War II. The PBY circled around to come in again, but the element of surprise was lost and the Germans were ready for them with their deck guns. The injured crew now had to fly the badly damaged PBY five hours back to their base in Scotland.
Fortunately for Captain Reinhard Hardegen, he was not on U-347 when John Cruickshank and his PBY crew sank it. Hardegen was the captain of U-123 and was one of the most successful killers of Allied vessels and crews in the entire war. The Germans demonstrated their dedication to killing during Operation Drumbeat in the first six months of 1942, when German U-boats sank Allied ships in what another German U-boat commander called a “duck shoot.” The Germans called this period of their submarine war “the Happy Time” as they sank Allied vessels along the North American coast almost at will. Hardegen would sink more Allied ships than any other U-boat commander during Operation Drumbeat. In 1936, with his home country of Romania increasing their persecution of Jews, the father of David Stolier decided it would be best to evacuate his son from the country. Not every old man gets the opportunity to meet George Clooney, let alone see his World War II story told by the A-list actor and director in a major motion picture. Ettlinger, a German Jew who had the good sense to flee Germany in the 1930s, would return to Europe at the very end of the war to help recover the artwork, much of it stolen from German Jews. On September 15, 1963 at 10:22 AM, a bomb detonated in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. It would take over a decade for authorities to begin to track down the KKK members who planted the bomb.
Drilling rock hundreds of feet up on the side of a cliff face is exciting work, especially when it’s a historic monument like the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in Keystone, South Dakota.


Clifford had been hassling the sculptor of the monument, Gutzon Borglum, for a job since he was 15 years old. At first, Clifford worked cutting logs and cranking winches to raise and lower cables at the rate of $0.50 per hour.
In the world of professional football, Pele is probably the most well-known South American football player of all time. Brazil only needed a tie against Uruguay to win the Cup and only an upset win could give it to Uruguay. The hero of that game, a legend in world soccer and especially in his home country of Uruguay, is the only survivor of that historic team. On June 19, 1953, an American couple named Julius Rosenberg and Ethel Greenglass Rosenberg were executed for spying and handing atomic bomb secrets to the Soviets in a trial that was a defining moment in Cold War espionage history.
The spy ring began with a brilliant nuclear physicist who worked at the secret Los Alamos nuclear facility designing and building the first atomic bomb, Klaus Fuchs.
Ruth Greenglass and Julius Rosenberg were both passionate communists, but Ethel Rosenberg did not seem to share her husband’s passion and did not appear to be involved in the espionage. In exchange for his testimony, David Greenglass received a 15-year sentence instead of death.
Patrick Weidinger used a computer to research and type this list, but he is one of the last living survivors of an ancient time when research was conducted with printed materials and oral histories and typing meant using a typewriter. She was a very old vitamaster who was going to be given a second chance to spin her flywheel. I'm thinking I'll save her chain to remember her by, maybe her steel reinforced duct tape pedal [if I can figure out how to take it off] I IMMEDIATELY knew what Jerry was talking about with "Oh the Humanity!" I envisioned the Vitamaster crashing in flames as did the Hindenburg At least the only REAL casualty in this disaster was the vitamaster herself, I may be cranky, but I'll survived. Eighty years old and still a practicing physician in Baltimore, he is believed to be one of three people still living who flew on Luftschiff Zeppelin No. It had a lounge with a baby grand piano made out of aluminum, so as not to affect the weight of the hydrogen-filled airship, and a pressurized room for smokers.
A shaken radio announcer from Chicago named Herbert Morrison watched burning bodies running from the downed Hindenburg in Lakehurst and uttered the line that would be remembered for the ages.
Thirty-six people died in the disaster (13 passengers, 22 crew members, 1 ground crew member). Everything from the common hypothesis that a "static spark" ignited volatile hydrogen gas that had leaked, to the theory — put out in a 1975 disaster genre flick starring George C.
Seen behind him at center is Lakehurst Hangar No.1 where the Hindenburg was housed in 1936. But witnesses described the Hindenburg fire as burning in a reddish-orange color, "which is exactly the color you’d get if you burnt the fabric," he said. Doehner of Colorado, the last surviving passenger from the disaster, was unable to attend the ceremonies due to health concerns, but sent a reflective letter to be read at last night’s dinner. Not only are they time capsules of memories, experiences, and stories from a bygone era, they also hold in them the last remaining memory of that great event. They had finally received the right to vote and they were entering the US workforce in larger numbers than ever. Like the other young women who painted the clocks, she was taught how to obtain a fine point on her brush by moistening the tip with her lips. Unlike so many of her coworkers, she did not develop the deadly diseases caused by radium such as “radium jaw,” a debilitating and usually fatal disease where radium attacks the bones and rots away the jaw. The gigantic German passenger aircraft exploded, burned, and crashed at Lakehurst, New Jersey on May 6, 1937.
Later, Franz asked for permission to return to the Hindenburg to look for a watch his grandfather had given him. Today, John Cruickshank is the only living World War II combatant to have won this prestigious military award, and boy did he earn it. Like all German submariners, he was exceptionally proud of the German U-boats, believing them to be far superior to those of the Americans. He booked David passage on the Struma, an old cattle boat that was barely seaworthy, bound for the assumed safety of British Palestine. At the very end of World War II, the Allies were afraid the Germans would destroy unknown numbers of priceless and historic artwork they knew the Nazis had seized when they came to power at the start of the war. The bomb was a case of dynamite planted by four Klansmen who had tunneled underneath the front steps of the church.
Afterward, these four girls were posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, but a fifth victim of the bombing that day has never been recognized. But there is one lesser known football legend from South America who is also the sole living member of his team—a team that pulled off one of the greatest upsets in football history. In the final game the home team faced an opponent from next door, the small country of Uruguay. Everyone was so sure of a Brazilian victory that local newspapers had already printed an announcement of the win the morning before the match. In 2013, still very much part of world soccer, Ghiggia was honored to be one of those at the final selection process of the 2014 World Cup match, which will also be played in Brazil.
Over 60 years later, only one of their major co-conspirators is left—Ethel Rosenberg’s brother, David Greenglass. In 1949, the Soviet Union exploded their first atomic bomb, years before they were expected to be able to. Greenglass would later recant his testimony, stating that Ethel Rosenberg did not type the atomic secrets, but it was too late. 129, better known as the Hindenburg, which burned and crashed in Lakehurst 75 years ago today, killing 36 people. Speculation still surrounds the actual cause of the fire, but 75 years later, historians, witnesses and the last known surviving crew member share their thoughts of that fateful day.
Scott and Anne Bancroft — that a rigger sabotaged the airship to blow up what was becoming a powerful Nazi propaganda symbol, complete with swastikas on its tail fins. Werner, Walter and their mother survived the crash but Irene died going back to try and rescue their father, who perished.
In particular, American companies wanted to employ young women in manufacturing operations that required precise yet repetitive work, such as hand painting radioactive radium paint onto clock faces. This meant ingesting radioactive radium each time they touched the painted brush to their mouth.
It seems incredible anyone could walk away from that fiery crash, but of the 97 crew and passengers on board, 62 would survive. By the time he was on his first voyage to the United States, Franz had been to South America aboard the Hindenburg several times. On his 48th mission and cruising at 610 meters (2,000 ft) above the Arctic Ocean, he and his crew spotted U-347 on the surface and moved in for the kill. Bullets and shells from the U-boat shredded the PBY, killing one man and wounding several more.
Hardegen recalled visiting an American submarine before the war and coming away with the impression that the American submarines had great creature comforts and spacious room compared to the German subs, but were not as well-designed as ultimate fighting machines.


The Happy Time would soon give way, however, to what the German submariners called “the Sour Pickle Time,” the period in 1943–1945 when Allied sub detection and killing technology made almost every U-boat mission a death sentence. Badly overcrowded, with almost 800 passengers and crew, the Struma barely made it to the port of Istanbul, Turkey. In February 1942, the Turks finally forced the Struma back out into the Black Sea with nowhere to go.
After the war, he went home to Newark, New Jersey and helped his country fight the Cold War by working for a company that designed nuclear weapons.
Their cowardly act of domestic terrorism against the African-American church managed to kill four people, all of whom were little girls attending a Sunday sermon. Sarah Collins Rudolph, younger sister of Addie Mae Collins, is the last injured survivor of that attack. Amazingly, no workers were killed during the years of drilling and blasting needed to create the monument. There were 200,000 fans inside the world’s largest football stadium that was built just for the World Cup, rooting for Brazil. With only 11 minutes remaining, Uruguayan Alcides Ghiggia scored, winning the game at 2–1.
Fuchs was the scientist who fed US and Canadian atomic secrets to the Soviets that allowed them to shave years off their development of an atomic bomb.
During the Rosenbergs’ trial, David Greenglass testified that Ethel Rosenberg had typed some of the secret documents he had passed along to the Soviets, thus implicating Ethel Rosenberg directly as a spy. She was finally going to be useful again.She worked very hard running for as much as 42 miles a day, her mistress was a cruel taskmaster, pushing her even after she started to become frail with her age. A thrilling one, it’s a marvelous sight, coming down out of the sky, pointed directly toward us and toward the mooring mast. What is it like to be able to look back on 60, 70, or 80 years of life since that event and think “I am the last”?
Radium was discovered in 1898 by Marie Currie, and four years later, William Hammer mixed radium with zinc sulfide to make radioluminescent paint. The women were told the radium paint was safe, and to be fair, it wasn’t until the 1920s that the companies knew they were lying. He ran out of the mess to the gangway, where he saw a ball of flame rushing towards him as the hydrogen cells exploded and burned. He wasn’t just the pilot of his war machine, but the winner of a prestigious war decoration from his country, the coveted Knights Cross. He also felt the discipline and devotion to duty of the German submariners far exceeded that of their American counterparts.
Within hours, a Soviet submarine patrolling for Axis ships mistakenly torpedoed the Struma only a mile off the coast.
To that end, the Allies dispatched a small unit of art historians, professors, and other Indiana Jones characters called the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives corps. That fact is not lost on the last living man to drill and chisel the faces of four great American presidents into a mountain. Knowing that Clifford was an excellent pitcher and infielder, he got added as a ringer to the team, which was called the Mount Rushmore Memorial Drillers. Now, he autographs his own book, Mount Rushmore Q&A, at the Mount Rushmore gift shop and answers any and all questions about the making of the memorial. In 2014, Ghiggia will be one of only two people (the other being the president of Uruguay) who will be allowed to touch the coveted World Cup trophy as it travels through Uruguay to Brazil.
Greenglass probably said this to save the life of his wife, who was not prosecuted, even though it appears certain Ruth recruited her husband to spy for the Soviets. Last year I helped a friend clean out his mom's house after she died, and we gave away a bunch of stuff, including a recumbent exercise bike. Before long, anyone and everyone had to have a radium-painted watch on their hand or a radioactive, glowing clock by their bed. Werner Franz was a 14-year-old cabin boy on the Hindenburg and is the only living crew member from that historic event. The evening the Hindenburg approached the tower in Lakehurst, Franz was still busy washing and putting away dishes in the mess. Just then, he was doused with water as the forward water ballast tank shifted and poured water toward the rear of the ship. Riddled with bullets in his limbs and lungs, he held the PBY steady and dropped all six depth charges, sinking the sub. At the age of 101, he is the last of the World War II German U-boat commanders and one of the last living German submariners. They were tasked with finding and recovering the stolen art the Nazis had stashed in castles, salt mines, and other locations. She never really recovered, as she is still traumatized by the events of that day, but she is the only victim still alive 51 years later. Gold, who would be convicted of espionage and sentenced to 30 years in prison, implicated David Greenglass, a US soldier stationed in Los Alamos. In 2006, a federal judge in Manhattan ruled to keep the secret grand jury testimony of David Greenglass sealed until after his death.
She had to suffer the indignity of DUCT TAPE even to the point of being renamed the Duct Tape Wonder. Many companies rushed into the business of processing the radium, making the radium paint, or manufacturing the clocks and watches with the painted parts.
Just then, Franz caught his last lucky break As he hit the ground, the ship lurched back up into the air. Seventy-two years later, Stolier is still the last living witness to this historic tragedy. Almost 70 years later, only Harry Ettlinger survives to attend the Hollywood premiere of the movie made to tell the tale of this remarkable World War II mission.
The story of how he got the job is almost as fascinating as the work he and the others did to create such a magnificent work of art. Greenglass had been recruited by Julius Rosenberg through Greenglass’s wife, Ruth Greenglass. This gave him just enough time to run out from underneath the falling immensity of the burning ship. David Greenglass became a Soviet spy, passing on secrets through Gold and Julius Rosenberg to the Soviets.
Would nothing stop her suffering?Finally after months of abuse and her protests going unheeded, she could take no more.



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