Joe Moser

Missing in Buchenwald

I’ve had a wonderful life. … I would go through it again to keep our freedom, really. … I know I could be angry for what I had to go through, but it made life worth living.

Capt. Joseph F. Moser, U.S. Army Air Forces

His dream to fly gone astray in 1944, Joe Moser dangled beneath the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, one of the fastest twin-engine fighters on the planet. The burning warbird finally cut him loose in the skies over north-central France and Moser survived the fall.

Joe Moser

Top: Moser’s identification card as a prisoner of war. Moser Family Collection

Bottom: By way of Western Union, Mary Moser officially learns of her son’s disappearance. The telegram marks the beginning of more than eight months in captivity. Moser Family Collection

But his capture brought him to Buchenwald concentration camp and hellish conditions he couldn’t have imagined. A German pilot set Moser free within days of his rumored execution. Moser has never forgotten the prisoners there— nothing but skin and bones— and the men who later saved his life during a chilling death march out of Poland in 1945.

Joe Moser

Moser Family Collection

Joe Moser

Moser’s P-38 Lightning, a coveted fighter with a menacing nose, could reach speeds in excess of 400 miles per hour. Moser Family Collection