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Published by BBYRA, 2017-03-27 05:52:28

2017 February

2017 February

Volume 26, Number 1

February, 2017

Jerry Yellin, Last P-51 Combat Pilot
Honored at Air & Space Conference

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James honored Jerry Yellin with the Hoyt Vandenberg Award at
the annual Air & Space conference in National Harbor, MD. He received the award for his organization Keep
the Spirit of ’45 Alive. Spirit of ’45 is an alliance of organizations and individuals that work to preserve the
honor and legacy of the men and women of America’s WWII generation – so that their achievements and values
will continue to inspire today’s youth and future generations.

Jerry Yellin was the P-51 pilot who led the last combat mission against Japan during WWII. He has the
distinction of having flown the final combat mission of WWII on August 14, 1945 – the day the war ended. On
that mission, his wingman, Phillip Schlamberg, was the last man killed in a combat mission in WWII.

After the war ended, Jerry struggled with severe PTSD, which was not understood as a medical problem at
the time. He always wondered why he survived, while so many of his friends didn’t. At the age of 93, Jerry still
travels the country to tell young people the story of WWII and the truths of combat.

Luncheons are Wednesday, 11:15 AM
K of C Hall, Bloomington, MN.
See our website:

Eighth Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota Officers
& Directors as of January 1, 2016

President Vice President Treasurer John Ahaus
Steve Marks Dick Hill (179th FS) Gary Birchem 10548 Penn Ave., S
5121 Gorgas Ave. 934 Woody Lane 28790 Ivywood TRL Bloomington, MN 55431
Edina, MN 55424 Coon Rapids, MN 55448 Chisago City, MN 55013 (612) 720-8307
(952) 926-0148 (763) 755-3559 (651) 257-1550 [email protected]
(952)-797-2783 [email protected] almostaranch02@
[email protected] Vince Parker
38 Moonlight Bay
Spook Johns Dick Kaminski Gene Kretchmer Stillwater, MN 55082
5933 Walnut Dr. 6633 Xerxes Ave S 11206 Virginia Rd. (651) 439-8679
Edina, MN 55436 Minneapolis, MN 55423 Bloomington, MN 55438
(952) 935-3650 (612) 869-5978 (952) 943-3988

James Rasmussen Lawrence Sagstetter
18273 Fillmore St., NE 1696 E. Third St.
Cedar, MN 55011 St. Paul, MN 55106
(763)-434-3654 [email protected]

Frank Frison (447th BG) Past Presidents Ed Kueppers (AM)
William Herbert (96th BG) Earl B. Joswick (95th BG)

James Keefe (95th BG) Richard Postier (96th BG) Harold Rutka (34th BG) Dave Dahlberg (487th BG)

Don Zupan (379th BG) Don Bruns (379th BG) Larry Bachman (392nd BG) Don Kent (401st BG)

Clyde Thompson (490th Dick Kaminski (457th BG) Robert Clemens (15thAF) Al Anderson (ARDC)

Newsletter prepared and edited by Lawrence Sagstetter, 1696 E. Third St., St. Paul, MN 55106,
Phone: 651-776-7434, Email: [email protected].

“Deterrence through strength, global strike on demand.”



8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota February, 2017

headstones during Christmastime.
President’s Report
Having returned home after deployment in
By Steve Marks 1967, I was greeted with jeers, signs, the
spitting and comments about "baby killer." I
We have two members under medical care. demand to be able to honor my fellow Vietnam
Lloyd Flynn and Spook Johns are both vets who have gone before - along with all
currently in the medical system. I've visited other vets - without being thought of as
both and they are doing well. Please something I am not.
remember them in your prayers.
Please send your dues ($20) in for this year.
We've had to replace Spook on the board You will get a membership card for this year.
due to his medical condition. Marv Jansma, a Because of declining income for the group, we
USAF Vietnam vet, has replaced Spook on the have to cut costs. The dues money covers the
board. Many thanks for your service on the newsletter and that's it. If the dues aren't
board, Spook. received, we will keep you on the roster until
the end of the year. After that, your name will
At the start of each luncheon I remember be dropped from the newsletter list.
those who have gone before. It isn't just those
who were killed in combat, but all who - Steve Marks
served. There also are other ways to honor
those veterans, one being to place flowers at GOD BLESS ALL OF YOU AND GOD
their graves. I have done this at the Fort BLESS THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!
Snelling Cemetery and have found there are
people who don't have a clue why anyone
would ever do that.

One of the workers at the cemetery told me
last summer that a woman was very upset
because someone else had placed flowers at a
family member's grave. This woman was
extremely upset. She wanted to find out who
had left the flowers. I don't believe she ever
found out. (I was visiting Bob Clemens' grave
at the time I was told that story.)

We honor these veterans' sacrifices by
placing the flowers on their graves is a visual
"Thank you for your service". We, as
veterans, know what all veterans have to go
through, some much more than others.
Anyone who has such a small view of our
honoring our fellow veterans needs to step
back and understand the situation from our
point of view. Look at all the cemeteries that
have Christmas wreaths put on their



8 th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota February, 2017

Chaplain’s Message

Airman's Prayer . The nationalist Alternative for Germany party
last month commemorated the 72nd anniversary
God guard and guide us as we fly of the Allied bombing of Dresden in World War
Through the great spaces of the sky; II.

Be with us as we take to air This prompted Harry Fleisch to write in the
In morning light and sunshine fair. Wall Street Journal:

Eternal Father, strong to save, “Frauke Petry of the Alternative for Germany
Give us courage and make us brave; party asserts that American forces after World
War II allowed German war prisoners to die of
Protect us whereso'er we go, hunger in the camps on the Rhine meadows.
From shell and flak and fire and foe.
I was a first lieutenant in those forces with
Most loved member of our crew. responsibility for coordination and treatment of
Ride with us up in the blue. Germans exactly in the Rhine meadows. In
chaotic circumstances, masses of Germans were
Direct our bombs upon the foe thrust under our authority starting in February
But shelter those whom Thou dost 1945, before the war ended in May of that year.

know. I can personally assure Ms. Petry that we
Keep us together on our way, American soldiers made enormous efforts to
feed and shelter displaced Germans in a
Grant our work success today. humane manner.
Deliver us from hate and sin,
Some Germans did die in an outbreak of
And bring us safely down again. typhoid. All of this stands in utter contrast to
O God protect us as we fly the German murderous gassing of millions of
people. Any comparison is
Through lonely ways across the sky.

- Chaplin John Eastwood
464th Bombarement Group

“A powerful, victorious ally is yet another
name for master.”

- Alexander Hamilton

“I get my best advice from the old. Then I
find young people with the energy to carry it

- Lyndon Johnson


2 February, 2017

8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota WWII Era marketing Slogans

‘Tell me it’s really happening. I can’t look away
beyond moral relativism, it is simply not from your eyes, John. If I did, you might
true. disappear, the way you do in dreams. Let me just
sit here and remember how your hand feels on
Revived German pride, buttressed with my arm . . . I can touch the stripes on your sleeve.
revisionist false history is dangerous. It is I can hear the clock tick. I can see my reflection in
precisely what alarms those few of us still your eyes.”
alive who were there. And it should concern
Germans and German watchers the world Those words, from an advertisement for
over. International Sterling tableware in Life magazine
soon after World War II ended 70 summers ago,
Harry M. Fleisch were accompanied by a photo of a wife greeting
her returning serviceman husband.
Rye, NY
Ads like this show how thoroughly the state of
Night Blindness war permeated all parts of the nation’s thinking.
The reality of shared sacrifice and involvement of
Night Blindness: Eating carrots every family in the war effort no longer exists
won’t necessarily improve your with the present day all-volunteer force. Less
vision. Lack of vitamin A can cause than one percent of the population has any
night blindness. And carrots are high relationship with today’s military. In WWII,
in vitamin A. But the legend about nearly everyone was all in the fight. And mass
eating carrots so you can see at night marketing had to appeal to that way of thinking.
has better roots.
“We’re sorry if there aren’t enough Life Savers to
During World II, the British go around,” the candy manufacturer proclaimed
government wanted people to grow earlier in that summer of 1945, before the
and eat carrots to ease food shortages. Japanese surrender. “But Servicemen come
So they put out a story that carrots first—we know you’d want it that way!”
were the reason Royal Air Force
gunners were having such good luck “Plenty of pineapple, but—sorry—not for you,”
spotting German bombers at night the Dole fruit company informed civilians. “Again
and shooting them down. this year the Armed Forces require about two
thirds of all the pack of the Dole Pineapple and
People started eating carrots to help Dole Pineapple Juice.”
themselves find bomb shelters in the
dark. And the RAF kept the Germans Jockey underwear company asked for
from finding out the real reason for understanding: “Jockeys are scarce in the
the gunners’ success. That was the stores—the bulk of Jockey production capacity
launch of a new airborne radar has been used for the armed forces.”
Ads for radio shows, such as “People Are Funny”
on NBC, carried notations: “Fridays, 9:30 p.m.,

EWT.” Eastern War Time—the War Time
designation was official, for all the clocks here at




8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota February, 2017

“The secret radar bombsight built by Philco,”
was still on, Life ran an article about Gen. Dwight D.
the electronics manufacturer told magazine Eisenhower. A weary Ike was quoted as telling a
group of combat correspondents: “I take it that you
readers, featured technology that “will bring are just as anxious as I am to win this war and get it
you the newest developments in the
enjoyment of radio and recorded music.” done so we can all go fishing.”

Ray-O-Vac battery corporation—its ad
depicted a smiling uniformed usher in a
movie-theater balcony - was pleased to
declare that supplies were “back again. Now
you can fill your flashlights with dependable
Ray-O-Vac leak proofs, war-proved and

Oldsmobile vowed that “as a result of combat
use on Army tanks,” the Hydra-Matic Drive
transmission had been fine-tuned to make
peacetime rides on U.S. highways a smooth

After peace broke out with the signing of
armistices of surrender, marketing changed
with the times.

U.S. Rubber Company placed an ad with the
headline: “They’ll be kids in Keds again!” No
longer needing to devote so much production
capacity to soldiers’ shoes and boots, the
company could make the famous Keds
footwear available once more for children.
The illustration was of a father and son going
fishing together.

“What does the button say, Daddy?” a young
boy asks his father, home from combat and
wearing an honorable-discharge button on his
business-suit lapel.

The ad’s sponsor, Camel cigarettes, answered
the question: “It says a service well done for
our country . . . for freedom and humanity the
whole world over. It says that America, every

American, is proud of the wearer . . . be it your

dad, or any one of the 13,000,000 men and
women who, like him, served in the armed

Earlier in the summer of ’45, when the war


8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota February, 2017

Nivelli – The Magician of the Holocaust By William Rauscher

Success and suffering are vitally and organically linked. If you succeed without suffering, it is
because someone else has suffered before you; if you suffer without succeeding, it is that
someone else may succeed after you.

- Edward Judson

When I met him that day, Nivelli was in the cold sophisticated, and with a touch of comedy. Lottie
dressing area changing his shirt. But he didn't assisted her husband as he performed a series of
complain - he didn't appear to mind the obvious Manipulations - Canary in Orange, Lemon and Egg,
discomfort. Nivelli exuded a kind of European Shooting Through a Woman, and the Substitution
charm, and both he and his wife Lottie, who worked Trunk. These performers were different; they were
as his assistant, were gracious to me. During our appealing.
conversation he took off his shirt, and I noticed a
tattoo on his arm. I said nothing, but immediately Some of the audience thought their routine was a
recognized the marking. This was Nivelli, the comedy, and began to laugh. But their performance
Concentration Camp magician. On the night of that was not funny. When Herbert and Lottie
performance I don't think anyone in the audience accomplished their quick change of one person for
saw the tattoo, or even suspected it was there. another, the audience stood in sincere appreciation
Nivelli was a very special man who could truthfully for their talent, then applauded, and finally cheered.
say, "Magic saved my life. I fooled the Nazis." Suddenly this demanding audience recognized an
outstanding talent, and decided they loved the
But Nivelli never mentioned his background. That performers!
night, no one in the audience suspected that the
gentleman who appeared before them in a white tie Herbert Nivelli was born Herbert Levin in Berlin on
and tails had been forced, over and over again, to September 9, 1906. In 1933 Nivelli fled from
perform pocket tricks for the Nazis. After their daily Germany and settled in Czechoslovakia. From his
torture sessions, sadistic murders, and body burning youth he had been interested in magic, and in time
in the gas ovens of Germany's feared Concentration opened seven magic shops. When he decided upon
Camps, they demanded he entertain them! a career in magic, he reversed the spelling of his
That night in Philadelphia, in the midst of one name to create "Nivelli." But World War II would
hundred magicians and their friends, Nivelli and his have a profound effect on his life and magic.
wife Lottie entered the room. A gentleman pushing
a cart with Nivelli's props followed behind. They 7
had driven themselves by car from Rego Park, New

Nivelli was short in stature, and dressed in a
continental style. He wore a long topcoat, with a
wide brimmed hat tilted to the side. Lottie, his wife,
was slim and frail. The audience had no idea that
years before their special guest performer was a
German Jew, who was once the youngest member
of the Berlin Stock Exchange until the rise of Hitler.

Nivelli and Lottie's act was charming, well timed,

8 th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota February, 2017

A farewell article in a 1947 German newspaper By 1954 Nivelli's reputation as a fine magician was
announced Nivelli's departure for America. The established in the United States, and his name
appeared on the bill at the New York Palace. Once
faded clip did not list the name of the paper or the again this performer had another reason to give
month in which it appeared but the article was thanks for his magic skills.

entitled "To Appear and Do Magic." Nivelli had In his final years Nivelli was a frequent performer
heard this unusual order over and over again from on cruise ships. His last show for a 1,500 member
Shrine Convention in Lancaster, Pennsylvania was
the Nazis: "You are hereby summoned to appear on May 1, 1977, two days before his death. He was
and do magic." survived only by Lottie - all of his other relatives
had died years before.
Bored after their daily cruelty, the Nazis always
"When the S.S. found out that I was "Nivelli, the
assured Nivelli that his family would be spared if he Magician" whom many had seen in leading theaters
obeyed their commands to entertain them. But throughout Germany, they sought me out and
commanded that I entertain them.”
Nivelli's parents, his wife and his nine-year-old son
were later burned in the gas ovens. Eventually "With practically nothing in the way of magical
apparatus or gimmicks, just a dirty pack of playing
Nivelli was moved from Auschwitz along with cards, I had managed to keep some string and coins
1,000 other prisoners and sent to Schwarzheide, (the Germans lent me these), I put a slip-shod act
together that was good enough to keep me
where he was ordered to do "bone work." Once constantly on call. And I mean, constantly ... for
again his magic worked its wonders -- Nivelli these devils would come to my bare wooden bunk,
at all hours of the night, prod me in the ribs, and
conjured for his life. demand that I get up and "do some tricks."

The final paragraph of the German article says, “All right. I did it. And it saved my life. Also made
"Now Nivelli says goodbye to Berlin, his birthplace, my life much easier, for the next day they would let
me sleep longer and not give me rough work to do. I
to go to America -to freedom - to start a new life

Herbet Nivelli, forever marked with Tattoo #A1676,

did start a new life, and succeeded. He immigrated
to America in 1947 under the displaced persons

quota. According to this report, before leaving for
the United States, Nivelli appeared at the

Schiffbauerdamm Theater. On the billboard outside
of the theater was a sign announcing, "Laughter

And Crying." Once inside the theater, the public
watched a fairy tale. They saw a man who had

exchanged his Auschwitz Concentration Camp garb
for a colorful bright Harlequin sequined costume.

The paper described Nivelli as "one who has

laughter in his heart because fate has been good to
him, while also in his heart and mind he cries,

because of all the memories imprisoned in his mind
from behind the electric wire barricades."

Nivelli's magic would once again sustain his life. In
1948 he married Lottie, the sole survivor of a large
German family. Lottie's failing health had ended her
professional career as a concert singer and pianist.


8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota February, 2017

also had special food.” gave me some more tricks. All made of wood by
their own hands. I started all over again. Six months
"Then I added thimbles to my repertoire and some later I was performing on the stages of Berlin,
cut up sponge. With this sponge, I fashioned the where I had achieved fame before the war. I got to
little pellets and with some cups, did the cups and America on the Displaced Persons quota ... and
balls. Then they began to insist that I teach them praise God. This wonderful country. These
these tricks. So that when I was not performing, I wonderful, wonderful people.”
was teaching magic.”
“I am now living in New York City with my sister
"Then came the terrible tragic day for me. It was the Hettie. We are so happy. We are so, so busy playing
time Heidrich, their Galetier in Vienna was killed. dates in theaters. And I have just come back from
All Jews were arrested. Many killed. Others shipped Atlantic City where I was honored to have been
off to a more terrible concentration camp. For four chosen to play on the bill at the great convention of
days and four nights, I was locked up in a cattle box the Society of American Magicians."
car with scores of others; all jammed up together
like sardines in a can. No food, no water. And I Nivelli had finally found freedom. Not only had
landed in the horrible Auschwitz Camp. All to die magic saved his life, it also opened new doors,
in gas chambers including my own wife and child. brought new friends, and once again proved its
Six million Jews met his ghastly death.” eternal qualities. Because of his magic, Nivelli
survived the Holocaust.
"Again, magic saved my life. The word got around
that I was Nivelli, the Magician. Finally, in the I feel privileged to have known him, corresponded
Concentration Camp near Berlin, I was rescued. with him, and admired him. He was successful,
"But by that time, through lack of food and despite terrible suffering. He was a gentleman who
vitamins, I was so weak I could only walk on sticks. endured the worst and became the best. His
improvised crutches. My fingernails and toenails business abilities allowed him to invest in real estate
had dropped off. I was the first man to come back and provide for his wife. He was an intriguing man.
from the Camp alive, to Berlin. There I was given
proper food and clothing. Some friends in magic Auf Widerschen, Nivelli.

Sue Rucker Organizes Veteran’s Day Luncheon

Wednesday, November 9 – the day after the election – Sue Rucker had organized an amazing
luncheon for all 8th members. She had the lunchroom decorated, each table arranged, with patriotic
colors, candy clusters and WWII era memorabilia.
934th Air Force Reserve leadership was present. A contingent of local US Marines presented the
colors in a flag ceremonial. Marines conducted a cake cutting ceremony. The youngest Marine cut
cake for the oldest Marine present and vice versa. This represented passing of knowledge from
oldest to youngest generation of Marines. Merchant Marines were also present. There were four
cakes and a catered buffet free for all in attendance. Heidi Ziman, the same cabaret singer who was
to perform at the Mancini’s Christmas party, provided music and singing.
Our thanks to Sue for her extraordinary efforts organizing the luncheon. Following are some
photos from the event.


8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota February, 2017


8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota February, 2017

8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota Membership


First Name Middle Initial Last Name


Street Apt. No. City State


Zip Code Tel. No. 8th AF unit or other service?

I want to subscribe for: 1 Year, $20.00_____ 2 Years, $40.00_____ 3 Years, $60.00_____ Other____

E-mail address____________________________________________________________________

Please send this form (or a copy) with your check or money order for $20.00 per year to:

8th Air Force Historical Society of MN
Gary Birchem, Treasurer
28790 Ivywood TRL
Chisago City, MN 55013



Aug. 4, 1989: A pair of World War II-era P-51 Mustangs fly a mission over St. Paul
during the annual reunion of the Minnesota Chapter of the Eighth Air Force Historical
Society. The theme of the celebration was "the battle of Britain." (Photo: Richard
Sennott/Star Tribune)

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