The Lost Airman
A true story of escape from Nazi-occupied France
By Seth Meyerowitz with Peter F Stevens
Published by Atlantic Books, UK; Dist. by Allen & Unwin
RRP $49.99 in hard cover
This book tells the story of the remarkable survival of U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant Arthur Meyerowitz, who was on his second air mission over France when he was shot down in 1943. He was one of only two men on the B-24 Liberator known as Harmful Lil’ Armful of the 448th Bomb Group, who escaped death or immediate capture on the ground.
How this book came to be written is interesting also. It is written by Seth Meyerowitz, (with Peter F Stevens). Seth Meyerowitz is Arthur’s grandson. He used a chance invitation to visit friends in Spain as a springboard for his research into the story of a grandfather he never knew.
After escaping the wreck, Meyerowitz knocked on the door of an isolated farmhouse, whose owners hastily took him in. Fortunately, his hosts not only despised the Nazis but also had a tight connection to the French resistance group Morhange and its founder, Marcel Taillandier. Meyerowitz and Taillandier formed an improbable bond as the resistance leader arranged for Meyerowitz’s transfers among safe houses in southern France, shielding him from the Gestapo.
In fact, Seth Meyerowitz was lucky with his timing. His first major research discovery was his grandfather’s recently declassified government file and debrief, an excellent starting point for his extensive research into the French Resistance.
The story that emerges in The Lost Airman is tense and riveting. Like many who escaped, he did so by using a variety of cover stories, enduring the inevitable hair-raising journey over the Pyrenees and finally a voyage aboard a fishing skiff with U-boats lurking below.
In telling this story, Meyerowitz feels he has repaid a debt to the French people who risked so much to save his grandfather’s life.