Letter: Victims of the V2 are not forgotten

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The Independent Online
Sir: In planning to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the V2 rocket's launch, Germany's aerospace industry may have chosen conveniently to forget the 20,000 concentration camp victims who died making the rocket, but relatives of the dead and those who liberated Nordhausen never can.

My husband, Professor Robert Owen, who died in 1990, never forgot what confronted him when, as a young scientist, he was attached to the US Air Force team that entered the camp and rounded up von Braun and the other Peenemunde scientists.

Von Braun went on to win great acclaim in the US, but my husband, to the end of his life, remembered the mounds of corpses, the starving and beaten prisoners and the small children begotten by the camp guards on the wretched women workers, mostly Poles.

We insult the memory of the victims - of the camp and of the bombings - if our air force is represented at this event. If celebrations are called for, they should surely be for the brilliant detective work undertaken by the Royal Aircraft Establishment, which painstakingly put together the million small fragments of the earliest V2 that crashed in Sweden, and thereby worked out from where it was launched, so that the RAF could target the site and save British lives.

Yours faithfully,


London, W11

27 September