Bomber drops in

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY RACHEL FLETCHER

AN APOL­OGY by a for­mer Ger­man bomber pilot has been wel­comed by Jewish war vet­er­ans and oth­ers.

Willi Sch­ludecker, 87, re­turned to Bath last week to apol­o­gise for three he had taken part.

Mr Sch­ludecker, one of the Luft­waffe’s most dec­o­rated pi­lots, dropped

At a me­mo­rial ser­vice to the vic­tims of the at­tacks, he said through a trans­la­tor: “I was a bit ner­vous when I was in­vited here but I had to come. In Eng­land, there has al­ways been friend­li­ness to­wards me and never ha­tred. At the time, we did not re­alise fully what we had done. The war was mad­ness.”

Af­ter the war he re­fused to re-join the Luft­waffe, ex­plain­ing: “They mis­used me once be­fore and I didn’t want to give them the chance to do it again.”

Peter Wa­ger­man, na­tional chair­man of the As­so­ci­a­tion of Jewish Ex-Ser­vice­men - er’s apol­ogy. “An apol­ogy of this na­ture helps to heal the wounds of war.”

Bath res­i­dent Alex Schlesinger, whose par­ents fled Europe in the build-up to the Holo­caust, said: “I’m not in a po­si­tion to ac­cept an apol­ogy di­rectly for those who suf­fered loss, in­jury, loss of life, rel­a­tives or prop­erty dur­ing the bomb­ing of Bath. How­ever, we are all very swift to say ‘never again’, and I think the of­fer­ing of an apol­ogy un­der­lines that.

“I think it takes a con­sid­er­able de­gree of brav­ery to come over and make that pub­lic apol­ogy. We should all re­spect him for it. Had more peo­ple been mind­ful of the con­se­quences - tle­man would not have been put in a po­si­tion where it was nec­es­sary to make such an apol­ogy.”

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