A German plane in flight during World War II. Photo: Bundesarchiv

Some DNA found in archive searches and old envelope glue helped identify a German fighter pilot whose plane crashed over Friesland in 1943.

corporal Constantine Benzien was the only pilot who was still unidentified 79 years after the battle that broke out when the German Air Force disrupted an American bombing mission in the North Western Province.

Ten German fighters and 20 American bombers were shot down in December 1943, but most pilots were able to identify them relatively quickly.

However, Benjien’s Messerschmitt Bf 109, which landed at a butcher shop in Opainde village, came down so fast that it was buried deep in the soil.

“Some of the wreckage found on the scene included some of the propellers that showed the effects of the crash,” said Alexander Twinhout, a researcher at the Missing Airmen Memorial Foundation, on the local broadcaster Omlop Free. I told Slant.

“But the most important discovery was the ring that Konstantin wore,” he said. “It really brings you closer to who the pilot was.”

Evidence of DNA

When researchers began digging wartime archives, they found that only two German airmen who participated in the battle were still missing. In 1999, SMASF discovered that one of the men, Friedrich K├Ânig, died near Piste in Drente. This meant that the pilot who crashed in Opainde could only be Konstantin Benjien.

However, the search for SMAMF has not been completed. German authorities only identified the missing soldier based on DNA evidence and were not available at the time.

Researchers managed to track down Bengene’s sister in the United States, but found her dead. However, it turned out that her grandson, whose DNA would not have helped identify the pilot, held many letters sent during the life of her grandmother.

“Forensic investigations found her DNA in the glue under the stamps and the sealing glue, which matched the DNA taken from the bones of her siblings,” said Tuinhuis.

Benzien’s body is buried in an unnamed tomb at the German War Cemetery in Ysselsteyn, Limburg. “That says”ein Deutscher Soldat‘, Tuinhout said. “It has always been our goal to turn it into a named cross, but now it is possible.”

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