Every year on the 27th January, the suffering of the Jews in World War II is remembered in Holocaust Memorial Day. 2015 holds a special significance as it will be 70 years since the end of World War II. Below is a story of how one Jew fought back against Nazi tyranny.
Born in Leeds, England Arthur Louis Aaron was a British airman who served in the RAF. His story begins in March 1941 when he first learnt to fly at the Number 1 British Flying School at Terrell, Texas. By 1943, Aaron had become captain of a Stirling Bomber in 218 Squadron. It is on a raid on the Italian city of Turin on the 12 August that year where we take up his heroic story.
While on its bombing run, Aaron’s bomber was hit by gunfire from an enemy night fighter. The windscreen was shattered and three of the engines took damage as the aircraft became immensely difficult to control. Worse still, the Stirling’s navigator Cornelius A. Brennan was killed. The other crew members had also taken hits while Aaron had broken his jaw and had part of his face taken clean off by the attack. This was alongside his now motionless right arm and the shrapnel that had embedded itself in his lung. Somehow keeping the plane level, the crew set course for the nearest allied base, over 1,000km away in North Africa.
The bomb aimer of the aircraft was forced to take control of the plane as Aaron received a dose of morphia. After a short period of rest, the Leeds boy returned to the cockpit insisting he was well enough to fly. His crew, seeing the state he was in, managed to talk him out of it but he still aided the flight by writing down directions with his one remaining functioning hand despite the trauma of his injuries.
The wreck of a craft reached the safety of Bone Airfield, Algeria five hours after the attack. Now back in safety the heroic men could recover from their injuries but sadly the ordeal had taken its toll on Aaron who died nine hours later from his injuries. He posthumously received the Victoria Cross for his act of courage.
RIP Arthur Louis Aaron and the crew of the EF452 Stirling. True war heroes.
The Museum of the Jewish Soldier in World War II in Latrun, Israel is an important project with the aim of teaching and inspiring people about the invaluable contribution of Jewish soldiers in the Second World War. The Museum will become an international research and education hub with the focus on highlighting the contributions of Jewish soldiers in the Second World War.
The Museum – which is backed by the Government of Israel – will comprise of several spaces and wings presented chronologically, with details of the armies and the fighting organisations starting from September 1939 and ending with the Japanese surrender on September 1945. This space will include: the hall for presenting the war and the Jewish Soldier; the First Years wing: 1939 – 1941; the Europe at War hall; the Great Britain hall; the Soviet Union and the War in East Europe wing; the United States wing; the Partisans, Underground Organizations and Ghetto Resistance Wing; the Volunteers of the Jewish Settlement in Israel wing and The Revival – from war for survival to the war of independence: 1945-1949.