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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Writing Supported By Excellent Research.
"Shot From The Sky" by Cathryn J. Prince.
Subtitled: "American POWs In Switzerland"
Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, 2003.

The writer, Cathryn Prince, had the opportunity to live and work in Switzerland, which gave her the time to dig into the nooks and crannies of the Swiss archives. She used this timely opportunity to document a...
Published on June 12, 2009 by John P. Rooney

versus
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wartime Switzerland under Critical Fire
Cathryn J. Prince. SHOT FROM THE SKY: American POWs in Switzerland. Naval Institute Press, 2003.

This book focuses on the internment of 1,740 American military personnel in Switzerland between 1943 and 1945. A former reporter in Geneva for the Christian Science Monitor, author Cathryn Prince charges wartime Switzerland with

shooting down...
Published on August 21, 2005 by Robert B. Gentry


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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wartime Switzerland under Critical Fire, August 21, 2005
This review is from: Shot from the Sky: American POWs in Switzerland (Hardcover)
Cathryn J. Prince. SHOT FROM THE SKY: American POWs in Switzerland. Naval Institute Press, 2003.

This book focuses on the internment of 1,740 American military personnel in Switzerland between 1943 and 1945. A former reporter in Geneva for the Christian Science Monitor, author Cathryn Prince charges wartime Switzerland with

shooting down war-damaged American aircraft that entered Swiss air space, killing or injuring some American crewmen;
applying international law unfairly, giving German soldiers and airmen free rein in Switzerland but discriminating against American airmen;
violating Article 2 of the 1907 Hague Convention by aiding Nazi Germany's war effort;
violating the Swiss military code in sentencing Americans to prison without a military tribunal;
imprisoning American internees who tried to escape into camps as bad as some camps in Nazi Germany.

Prince builds a broad context around her main subject. She includes eyewitness accounts of 25 former American internees and several Swiss citizens, a short history of Swiss neutrality, details about Nazi influence in Switzerland before and during the war, an examination of extremely strained relations between Switzerland and the United States during and after the war, and information on the issue of POW status for American veterans who were interned in Switzerland, a status that the U. S. Veterans' Administration has so far refused to grant.
The author qualifies her criticism of Switzerland by citing examples of humane treatment of Americans who obeyed their Swiss captors. The reader learns that Switzerland was a mecca for Allied and Axis spies; American planes bombed several Swiss cities and towns (including Zurich), killing or wounding a number of Swiss citizens (believed intentional by many Swiss; believed accidental by most American authorities); and the little known fact that by the war's end, 61 American servicemen lay buried in a village cemetery near Bern.
The book's appendix lists the names of over 1,600 American airmen interned in Switzerland, including that of Oscar J. Koeppel of Phlox, Wisconsin (not interviewed by Prince). During the war Technical Sergeant Koeppel of the 773rd Squadron, 463rd Bomb Group, 15th Air Force was the upper Turret Gunner and Engineer on a B-17G piloted by Don Jacobs.
In a recent interview, Mr. Koeppel gave me the following account:
"I had 32 missions over Germany and Northern Italy. We knew we had one chance in ten of getting back to base without being killed, captured, or having to land in a foreign area. I had many close calls with disaster. Only my complete trust in God kept me from getting hysterical like some did."
Koeppel then talked about his last mission on December 9, 1944 (the target: Regensburg, Germany); his plane getting damaged; and the crew's decision to fly to Switzerland.
"I shot off flares as we flew into Switzerland. No planes came after us. No one shot at us. Jacobs made a wonderful soft mud landing near Altenrhein. No one was hurt. Armed guards marched us to a tavern where we were given beer and pea soup. It was the best food we'd had in months. We played cards and relaxed before a bus took us to Altenboden. The officer in charge of the town gave us forms to send home through the Red Cross letting them know we were safe in Switzerland.
"I was in Altenboden about a month. I stayed in two hotels, part of the time under armed guard. The rest of the time we were pretty free to go and come in the town. I attended Christmas Eve mass in a beautiful gingerbread-decorated church. New Year's Eve we had a great party with plenty of beer. Ice skating kept us busy for about a week. Then Don Jacobs, Ralph Mathewson, and I decided to escape. Other guys stayed put. They were having too much fun. I escaped because I wanted to go home and see my wife."
Koeppel's account of his escape is similar to American escapes described in Cathryn Prince's book. He and his two friends used forged passes, eluded Swiss soldiers hunting for them, got help from American authorities and the French underground, and endured a dangerous, bitterly cold boat ride across Lake Geneva to France and freedom. According to Koeppel:
"We got pretty good treatment from the Swiss. They were short of food. They took in thousands of refugees and had to depend on Germany for coal and food. Still, I feel I deserve POW status. I was held in Switzerland against my will, and I took a great risk getting out of there. We knew if we were caught we would have a really bad time in prison."
(...)
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Writing Supported By Excellent Research., June 12, 2009
This review is from: Shot from the Sky: American POWs in Switzerland (Hardcover)
"Shot From The Sky" by Cathryn J. Prince.
Subtitled: "American POWs In Switzerland"
Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, 2003.

The writer, Cathryn Prince, had the opportunity to live and work in Switzerland, which gave her the time to dig into the nooks and crannies of the Swiss archives. She used this timely opportunity to document a blacker picture of Swiss "neutrality" during World War II.

Prince shows that some Swiss were intimidated by the proximity of the Third Reich, while other Swiss (particularly the German speaking Swiss) were intoxicated by the initial successes of Nazi Germany. As the author, Prince, relates that, whatever the reason, Switzerland practiced a form of "neutrality" that favored the Axis Powers. So did Sweden. Cathryn Prince then "compares and contrasts" (remember your History courses?), the recorded actions of Sweden and Switzerland, vis-a vis Allied airmen. The Swedes, like the Swiss, were caught in a web of neutrality that favored Nazi Germany. How many tons of iron ore were shipped from neutral Sweden to support the war efforts of the Third Reich? The Swedes, however, handled Allied airmen in a fashion that was diametrically opposed to the Swiss method; for example, there was no concentration camp in Sweden for recalcitrant Allied airmen who were prone to escape to get back into the war. The author documents the Swiss strictness towards Allied airmen internees, and, on the other hand, the Swiss liberality towards Luftwaffe Internees. Towards Americans, the Swiss "correctness" leaned towards meanness, particularly when the Americans exhibited tendencies to disappear from beautiful Switzerland.

All in all, I believe that Cathryn Prince has prepared a well-documented and excellently written condemnation of the Swiss record of handling American airmen in the Second World War.

By the bye, if any of my fellow Irish would like a readable book on the "neutrality" of the Irish Free State, I would suggest, "That Neutral Island", subtitled, "A Cultural History Of Ireland During The Second World War", by Clair Wills, Belknap Press, Harvard University, September 2007. In that book, the author shows that, while the Irish denied their ports to the Royal Navy, many thousands of Irish volunteered for British forces. American airmen who crashed in the 26 counties of the Free State were returned to Belfast, so, in sum, Irish neutrality favored the Allies. In the book, "Shot From The Sky", the author, Cathryn Prince did not even mention Ireland and Irish neutrality... at least I did not find it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Filling in an Important Overlook Part of World War II, October 8, 2012
This review is from: Shot from the Sky: American POWs in Switzerland (Hardcover)
I've written a wide variety of military history articles and books and am presently writing a series of World War II 70th anniversary articles for an online site. With her book SHOT FROM THE SKY Cathryn J. Prince has done a great service in the historiography of World War II. Like so many others, I assumed that aviators that landed in Switzerland would be given fair treatment. SHOT FROM THE SKY was a real eye opener. The other reviewers who negatively criticized this book clearly had their own agenda. Prince does an excellent job telling the story of what happened to aviators interred in Switzerland. Yes, there are many questions raised, but that is the nature of books such as this. Much more needs to be told about the experiences of military personnel who wound up in neutral territory--a major work, that! Bravo to Ms. Prince for her contribution!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!, June 27, 2014
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This review is from: Shot from the Sky: American POWs in Switzerland (Hardcover)
Well researched and very interesting of role played by the Swiss during World War II. Makes a good summer read.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great World War2 Book, August 12, 2013
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This review is from: Shot from the Sky: American POWs in Switzerland (Hardcover)
Gave me a different take on the Swiss role in WW2. This was history that I was not aware of before. Excellent research by the Author.
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8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding WWII Book, February 26, 2006
By 
K. Davey "Ken Davey" (Hopewell, Jct., New York United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Shot from the Sky: American POWs in Switzerland (Hardcover)
"Shot from the Sky: American POWs in Switzerland" is simply an outstanding WWII book. From 1943-1945, "neutral" Switzerland shot down and imprisoned more than 1,700 American flyers. Interestingly, no Nazi airmen or troops were interred during WWII. German aircraft were allowed to land unharmed at "neutral" Swiss airfields, refuel, and safely depart. When news of the 6 June 1944 Normandy landings began to filter into the camps of imprisoned U.S. airmen, authorities tripled the number of guards and Swiss machine-gun emplacements. Captured American escapees were held in POW camps, some similar to the German and Japanese concentration camps. By the end of the war, 61 Americans lay buried in a remote village cemetery. During the war, the Geneva Accords did not apply to POWs held in neutral countries. Adding to this incredible story, at the end of WWII, the U.S. War Department ordered the American internees not to discuss their imprisonment with anyone once they were repatriated. Never once, over the past sixty years, has the Swiss government apologized.

Cathryn J. Prince was a journalist for The Christian Science Monitor, reporting on the Nazi gold scandal and the Swiss Bank crisis. The author's interest in WWII was inspired by her father's military service. He was a U.S. Air Force captain who served as a flight surgeon in Vietnam.

Prince should be commended for her stunning account of American airmen shot out of the sky, captured in Switzerland, threatened into silence at the end of WWII and forgotten by our government.
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12 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't Know What This Lady's Agenda Is, But......., February 26, 2008
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This review is from: Shot from the Sky: American POWs in Switzerland (Hardcover)
clearly the author decided to write about as one-sided a story as she could. Not only does she not cite sources that tend to give a more balanced look at Swiss armed neutrality in WWII, she totally ignores parallels with all other neutral nations in WWII except Sweden, and then only for parts of three pages.

I submit the author needs to research the Irish Republic's neutrality in WWII, or "The Emergency" as the war was known in Eire. If one took the time to make a check list of many of the complaints Ms. Prince levied against the Swiss, the results would show similar actions on the part of the Irish toward the Allies. For example:

1) Ms Prince claims the Swiss frequently released German aircrew who landed there. The Irish did the same for the Allies. In fact the Irish would take "captured" Allied aircrew to the same in-processing camp as they did Germans, specifically so the Germans could see them. Telling the Germans they were going to take the Allied personnel to a separate camp, they would then transport them to the Irish/Northern Ireland (UK) border and release them.

2) The author seems particularly upset that German military personnel were permitted to come and go as they pleased into Switzerland, especially for R&R visits. Allied personnel did the same in Ireland, where there was no black-outs and limited food rationing.

3) Just as the Swiss Air Force was made up of German aircraft and weapons, the Irish Air Corp of WWII flew British made aircraft including Gladiators, Lysanders, Hurricanes, and Ansons. Admittedly there is no record of the Irish having shot down any intruding warplanes, but it wasn't for lack of trying. The Irish simply didn't have aircraft or AA weapons of sufficient quality/quantity until late 1943 when they acquired second-hand early mark Hurricanes from the RAF. Prior to receiving the Hurricanes, both German and Allied aircraft "intercepted" by the IAC simply ouran them. The Irish did, however, broadcast into the clear any sightings of German aircraft and submarines. This allowed the Allies to locate and attack them once they left Irish airspace/waters.

4) Ms. Prince makes a point of US outrage over the Swiss complaint to the Americans for their bombing a French power station near the Swiss/French border. According to a US source at the time, the Swiss complaint was "tantamount to the assertion of the right to have the Allies refrain from attacking targets in enemy-occupied territory becasue Swis citizens have a financial or other interest therein." I wonder if the author is aware of a similar complaint made by the Irish after the Germans bombed the Short Brothers (warship and warplane manufacturer) in Belfast? In fact, the Irish threatened to declare war on Germany if any targets in Northern Ireland were bombed again. The Germans did not raid NI again for fear the Irish would allow Allied anti-UBoat warships and aircraft to base on the west coast of Ireland.

5) Dublin was bombed the Germans on a least one ocassion. Like the US bombing of Switzerland, it was explained away as an accident and the Germans paid compentation to the Irish. Many in Ireland still believe the bombing was no accident, however, and was meant as a warning against Irish "friendly neutrality" shown the Allies. It's also been alleged the Germans bombed Dublin as a result of British electronic counter measures against primitive German land-based targeting systems that sent the bombers off course. In either case, it makes little sense the Germans didn't realize something was not quite right considering Dublin was not blacked out (as were all cities in the UK) and made an easy target.

To my knowlegde, little has been written about the internment of Allied aircrew or naval personnel by the Turks or Soviets. (Allied personnel fighting the Japanese who were captured by the Soviets were interned, including at least the crew one B-25 crew from "Dolittle's Raiders" and numerous B-29 crews.) Both nations were considered as friendly to the Allies, however, so their treatment of Allied (vice Axis) personnel was probably preferential as well.

Overall I'm very disappointed in the Naval Institute Press for publishing this book, their standards are usually quite high. For those wishing to read the "other side of the story," I'd recommend Eichhorn's "Let's Swallow Switzerland" or Halbrook's "Target Switzerland." I'm not claiming either of these books are perfect, just that they offer a different perspective. I'd also recommend MacCarron's "Wings Over Ireland--The Story of the Irish Air Corps" and "Landfall Ireland" for a good description of the Irish and how they treated Allied and Axis incursions into Eire.
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6 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sham book, October 10, 2007
This review is from: Shot from the Sky: American POWs in Switzerland (Hardcover)
This is in regard to some of the reviews already posted for this book. I have not read it and have no intention of reading it. There are many books out on switzerland during the second world war and I have read many of them, but refuse to read this one. Facts are facts, and can be stated over and over again and in many different ways. Each author can put "special twists of their own on them. Judging by the reviews on this book from the editor, and others, and given the terminology used in them, and even the title of the book is enough to disuade me from ever touching it and placing it in the large bin with all the other "america is the best country in the world and all others that don't follow us are selfish pigs." The fact that the swiss shot down "some" a very few I might add american plane is NO BIG DEAL! Some americans lost their lives it is a tragic thing this is true, but there were accidental bombing of switzerland which caused many swiss lives, and the shooting down of swiss planes. But this all falls into the american prejudice category doesn't it, american lives are worth something all others are not.The swiss were biased in their neutrality it true, but towards the allies. most americans interned were placed in ski resorts for crying out loud. I dont even need to read this book to criticize it if the "facts" stated in the reviews are in it. They state that no German airman were held in swiss prisons??? this is an obvious absurdity many americans prisoners, the ones that tried to escape became prisoners were made to bunk with them. assuming that the rest of the facts are correct in this book, the author might want to consider rewriting it with unbiased terms and with less abusive language for the swiss did not bend to the american will, nor to the german will, they marched to the beat of their own drum and were praise very highly by all other nations around especially the United States. The swiss were not blameless nor flawless, mistakes were made in switzerland during the war as they were made in the US also, however in regards to upholding treaties, and fairness in war times in regards to whole populations of people, the swiss out did the american by ten fold. But they didn't fight and didn't loose thousand of their children, so american sufferd more, and now they have the right to smear another countries name right? I have seen reviews on nazi germany that were kinder than this one is to the swiss. But i guess thats the american way make yourself fell better by cuting down others to make yourself feel big. Thank God not all americans are like this. There are a few books out in english that treat the subject well and are not biased. Among them are Target Switzerland by Stephen Halbrook and Refuge from the Reich by Stephen Tanner.
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Shot from the Sky: American POWs in Switzerland
Shot from the Sky: American POWs in Switzerland by Cathryn J. Prince (Hardcover - May 2003)
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