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Leonard Aaron Kornblau


First Lieutenant Aaron Kornblau, born 21 September 1921 lived in Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania and attended Duke University until 1942. He enlisted on 18 November 1942, earning his pilot's wings on 1 October 1943.

On 21 July 1944 Kornblau's was flying his 35th mission when his aircraft was hit by flak. After losing control of the aircraft the crew bailed out. The radio operator, Roger C Gagnon reported in August 1945 that he believed Kornblau had stayed on board the aircraft as it crashed, and was subsequently killed. Gagnon recollected that his German captors had showed him Kornblau's identity bracelet on 27 July 1944 and told him that they had found his body in the aircraft.

In fact, Kornblau had safely escaped the crashing aircraft and landed somewhere between Urach and Schollach in Germany. Kornblau and his co-pilot Radomski, were taken to the city hall in Schollach, before being led individually into the nearby woods by Arthur Faller, a reserve Gendarme.

Heinrich Birnbreier and Josef Eisele, a factory supervisor were waiting in the woods, where Birnbreier interrogated Kornblau, asking him if he was in Munich or in possession of any weapons. Kornblau was ordered to put his hands up and then ordered to lower them, at which point Birnbreier shot him from a distance of 2-3 metres, Eisele followed up with a mercy shot to the head.

Birnbreier and Eisele with the assistance of Feller killed both Kornblau and Radomski in this way, with approximately 45 minutes between the deaths of each men. They then buried the bodies in the woods, though they were later interred in a local cemetery. Birnbreier and Eisele were sentenced to death at the Dachau War Crimes Trials in 1947, and Feller received a prison sentence.



  • Roger Gagnon

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Shot down by flak and crashed at Epfenhofen on 7/21/44 in B-17 #42-97350. Prisoner of War (POW).

  • Bernard Radomski

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Shot down by flak and crashed at Epfenhofen in B-17 #42-97350, Killed in Action (KIA).

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Units served with

  • 305th Bomb Group Can Do

    305th Bomb Group Can Do

    The 305th Bombardment Group (Heavy), nicknamed "Can Do" was activated 1-March-1942 at Salt Lake City Air Base, Utah which was their primary training base until 11-Jun-1942 when they relocated to Geiger Field, Washington until 29-Jun-1942, then on to...

  • 365th Bomb Squadron


  • 42-97350

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 20/2/44; Rapid City 8/3/44; Grenier 30/4/44; Assigned 601BS/398BG Nuthampstead 6/5/44 STRICTLY FROM HUNGER; no ops, transferred 365BS/305BG [XK- ] Chelveston 7/5/44; Missing in Action Mannheim 21/7/44 with Leon Kornblau, Co-pilot:...

Associated Place

  • Chelveston

    Military site : airfield
    Chelveston was adapted and expanded in preparation for the arrival of American forces. Rather than heavy bombers, the first aircraft to fly from its runways were C-47 Skytrains that were flown by the 60th Troop Carrier Group in July 1942. The first...

  • Schollach

    Other location


Event Location Date
Born Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA 21 September 1921
Prisoner of War (POW) Germany 21 July 1944
Died 21 July 1944
Lived in


Date Contributor Update
09 August 2018 16:32:49 Emily Changes to middlename, service number, highest rank, biography, events and person associations

Records from the US Military Tribunal at Dachau, US POW cases, January- December 1947, at the Jewish Virtual Library, Case No. 12-779 (US vs. Heinrich Birnbreier et al) Tried 25 April 47

Nazi crime on 5 US soldiers marks the 70th anniversary (Translated title), German newspaper article on the murder from 2014.

Jump into the Unknown (Translated Title) by Rolf Ebnet

MACR 7276 via Fold 3

Date Contributor Update
16 August 2017 19:19:49 BarbaraLK Changes to biography

Duke University Alumni Newletter

Date Contributor Update
16 August 2017 18:40:54 BarbaraLK Changes to media associations

Kornblau family photos

Date Contributor Update
16 August 2017 18:32:01 BarbaraLK Changes to nickname, awards and events

Kornblau family. His nephew who is named after him

Date Contributor Update
16 August 2017 17:11:11 BarbaraLK Changes to biography

Duke University, Duke Alumni Register, Vol. 32, 1946

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:18:35 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 7276 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database