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Title    : Rocketeers: Former Nazi Scientists Catapulted Americans to Moon
Date    :


friends, there was dancing here in the streets of Huntsville when our first satellite orbited the Earth. And there was dancing again when the first Americans landed on the moon. I'd like to ask you: Don't hang up your dancing slippers.'' - Wernher von Braun, leaving for a job at NASA headquarters in
Washington in 1970.

.c The Associated Press

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (July 14) - Rudi Beichel is still crunching numbers for a better rocket engine.

Ernst Stuhlinger is still writing about rocket science. So is Gerhard Reisig.

And Konrad Dannenberg is still going to launches and organizing space
confabs, only now they're really just reunions, and they are getting smaller and fewer each year.

These men are Apollo's rocketeers, old and overlooked but as passionate as ever about the frontiers they blasted open, with the world's first space shot in 1942, and then by helping put human beings on the moon 30 years ago July

At best guess, only 30 of the 118 original rocket men who came here from Hitler's Germany are still alive. Many are too frail to leave home because of strokes and arthritis. Those who can - Dannenberg, most notably - speak for all when they say that what NASA needs is another Wernher von Braun.

Yet many of them fear there will never be another von Braun, the mastermind who led them to America and America to the moon.

And even now, in their late 70s to early 90s, they have yet to outlive the Nazi taint, and they feel deprived of the recognition they deserve.

The fact is that these scientists have led two very different lives: first as loyal subjects of the Third Reich, then as loyal Americans.

Wernher von Braun's wartime rockets indiscriminately killed thousands of people and were built with slave laborers provided by concentration camps.

But as World War II ended, the Soviets and Americans found themselves in competition to acquire Germany's rocket expertise. The moral debate was sidelined and von Braun and his men were transformed from servants of Hitler's war machine to heroes of America's race to space.





� Layout Copyright 1998 Adam Finzel - Articles are copyright of the authors