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MENSCH International Foundation



Lilly Steinschneider, later Countess Coudenhove-Kalerg (Budapest, 1891 – Nice, 1977). The first qualified female pilot of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and the world’s first female Jewish pilot.

Dávid  Schwarz (Keszthely1850 – Vienna1897). Timber merchant, technician, inventor of the rigid-structure, light metal dirigible airship. Following his death, his invention was purchased by Count Zeppelin from Schwarz’s widow after it had successfully been launched into the air on 3 November 1897 in Berlin.

Viktor Wittmann (Szolnok1889 – Vienna1915). Hungarian mechanical engineer, pilot. Chief engineer and test pilot of Hungarian Aircraft Factory (later UFAG – Ungarische Flugzeugfabrik Aktien Gesselschaft), originally founded in 1913. A friend of the writer Frigyes Karinthy, winner of several international air races. He regularly took Karinthy with him when flying. Wittmann lost his life in 1915 as a result of a catastrophe in the air.

Aladár Tauszig (Pécs 18?? – ?). Air force pilot, major, squadron commander. Flew 50 operational sorties during the First World War. Alongside other active service and military awards, he received the Order of the Iron Crown Class Three with military decoration and swords, and the Prussian Iron Cross Second Class.


Wilhelm Frankl (1893 – 1917). The most famous German-Jewish fighter pilot of World War I.

Frankl learnt how to fly at the renowned German aviation centre of Johannisthal. On the outbreak of war he volunteered for the armed services. He had an outstanding flair for air combat and one day he shot down three enemy aircraft. In total he accumulated 19 air victories. His picture appeared on the front pages of illustrated magazines, which made him a national hero. He received the extremely high-ranking Pour-le-Mérite award, known as the Blue Max. In 1917 above

Friedrich Rüdenberg (Hannover, 1892). Successful German-Jewish fighter pilot of the First World War.

Trained as an electrical engineer, but when the war broke out he volunteered for the air force. After basic training, Rüdenberg qualified in reconnaissance flight. He received the Iron Cross in mid 1917. He completed his training as a fighter pilot with outstanding results and thus was selected for the 10th Jagdstaffel. His regimental commander was the renowned Manfred von Richthofen. Towards the end of the war Rüdenberg finished his studies then taught at the university for several years. Later he successfully applied for the position of technical director of General Electric’s Istanbul office. In 1936 he was dismissed due to his Jewish ancestry. He didn’t return to

Fritz Beckhardt (1889 – 1962). German-Jewish fighter pilot ace in the First World War.

Worked as a textile merchant and on the outbreak of war volunteered for military service. For his bravery displayed while in the infantry Beckhardt was awarded the Iron Cross First and Second Class. Later trained as a pilot. He had 17 successes in the air, which the Nazis later erased from the history of the Luftwaffe, saying that Jews were generically cowards.

Berthold Guthmann (1893 – 1943). Aircraft spotter and gunner during the First World War.

Interrupted his university studies when the war broke out. Volunteered for military service. Received the Iron Cross Second Class and other awards for bravery.

After the war Guthmann was an acknowledged lawyer in Wiesbaden and was a secular leader of the local Jewish community.

Guthmann and his family were arrested in 1943. They were killed at Auschwitz.

Berthold Guthmann, his wife Claire, son Paul and daughter Lotte in a more civilised era. (picture caption)

Willy Rosenstein (1892 – 1949). A pioneer of German aviation and a First World War ace.

Obtained his pilot’s licence in 1912 at the famous Johannisthal flight centre. Soon after he became a flight instructor and test pilot. Took part in air races. Became known nationwide for his skill. In 1914 Rosenstein volunteered for the armed forces as a pilot. In 1917 he had a quarrel with his commander, sub-lieutenant Hermann Göring. Due to Göring’s anti-Semitic remarks, he requested a transfer, which he got.

Rosenstein was very successful with another fighter plane unit, with five recognised air victories, but others were not recorded due to the end of the war. He received the Iron Cross First Class and other awards.

After the war Rosenstein became a glider pilot and sportsman, then in the 1930s he emigrated to


Marcel Dassault, born Marcel Bloch (1892 – 1986). French aircraft manufacturer.

Following his engineering studies he designed a practical aircraft propeller for the French military, and later founded the aircraft factory known as Société des Avions Marcel Bloch Aircraft Company. In 1936 the Popular Front government nationalised the company, but Bloch continued as director.

During the German occupation he refused to cooperate with the German aircraft industry and due to that, as well as his Jewish ancestry, he was deported to Buchenwald. In 1949 he changed his name to Dassault. ‘Dassault’ (tank) was the cover name in the French resistance of his older brother, General Darius Paul Bloch. After the war his company, Avions Marcel Dassault, manufactured the first military aircraft in


Theodore von Kármán

Theodore von Kármán (Tódor Szöllöskislaki Kármán, Budapest, 1881 – 1963 Aachen, Germany, 1963). Received his doctorate from Göttingen University, then began teaching. He was invited to be the director of the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen from 1912.

With his colleagues von Kármán developed (1915-1918) the world’s first military aircraft with rotating blades, the PKZ helicopter. Von Kármán headed the design team, Vilmos Zsurowecz managed the implementation, while Group Captain István Petróczy was the military specialist.

After the First World War he continued to direct the Aachen institute, then in 1933 he emigrated to the


Operation Gift (תשורה מבצע) took place on 28 December 1968 and was undertaken by the elite formation of the Israeli army’s Sayeret Matkal ( סיירת מטכ"ל‎, General Staff Reconnaissance Unit) at Beirut International Airport. Planning a reprisal attack had already begun in July after terrorists hijacked an El Al Tel Aviv – Rome flight on the 22nd of that month. The Athens terror attack four months later only strengthened the determination. The headquarters of the PLO, which claimed responsibility for the attacks, was in Beirut. The aim was to destroy as many Arab aircraft as possible.

The operation lasted for around 45 minutes. The result of the swift Israeli answer to the terror attacks on El Al aircraft was that planes belonging to three Lebanese carriers, Middle East Airlines, Lebanese International Airways and Trans Mediterranean Airways, were left burning wrecks. They included three Comet 4Cs, two Caravelles, two Convair 990s, two Douglas DC-7s and a Vickers VC-10, a Boeing 707, a Viscount 754D, a Douglas DC-4, a DC-6 and a DC-6B. The damage inflicted on the 15 destroyed air liners was estimated to be 43 million dollars.

In the 45th minute of the action the propeller-driven aircraft packed with commandos were already flying back to their home bases. No loss of life was incurred during the operation.


Operation Opera (מבצע אופרה) was the Air Force bombing raid on 7 June 1981 against the 70-megawatt Osiris or Tammuz 1 nuclear reactor being built with French assistance in Tuwaiha near Baghdad as part of the Osirak project. The almost completed reactor, which would have produced plutonium destined for nuclear weapons, was successfully destroyed before being filled with fissile materials. Among the pilots of the eight attacking F-16s and accompanying six F-15s was Ilan Ramon, who would become the first Israeli astronaut. All the pilots returned home safely.

One of the participating F-15s, now withdrawn from combat, is displayed in front of an Air Force base.

For the majority of Israeli skydivers the experience of free fall became popular when they were paratroopers. From a height of 4000 metres, they can get 50-55 joyful exciting minutes, and thus they aim to continue jumping as many times as possible. For obvious reasons, Israeli air space is very much occupied. Currently there are two ‘cylinder’ locations for parachute jumping, though they can only be used for sporting purposes on Saturdays. Israeli skydivers, as is common among sportspeople from across the world, jump in the Czech Republic,