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Virtual Lunch & Learn: “Bud’s Jacket: An American Flyer Evades the Nazis In Occupied France”

January 11, 2022 | 12:00pm CST


Chicago’s James “Bud” Wilschke was just 23 years old when he was shot down over coastal France in 1943. Struggling with his parachute, Wilschke and his fellow airman Robert Neil jumped out of desperation, not knowing they would land directly into Nazi-occupied France.  

After landing safely, he woke up to a farmer pointing a shotgun at him and asking in French if he was American or German. Wilschke replied, “I’m American,” thus beginning a six-month fight behind enemy lines for survival, hiding out in attics, barns, and hay wagons. With help from a network of French citizens across the country and over the Pyrenees Mountain range, Wilschke and Neil made it to freedom.  

After the war, Wilschke built his own family, but never mentioned the ordeal to anyone. His story went untold until Wilschke’s niece, Barbara, and her husband, Jim, found a box in White Bear Lake that documented the ordeal.  

Join us for a virtual conversation with Barbara and Jim Wojcik as we discuss their latest book, Bud’s Jacket: An American Flyer Evades the Nazis in Occupied France, and uncover details about what they found in the box and Wilschke’s survival.  

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