In WWII only the Soviet air force put women in combat. If they fell into German hands the consequences were too awful to think about.
In WWII American, British and German women flew aircraft from factories to the squadrons, taught other pilots to fly, or worked as test pilots.
None of them saw combat.
In the Soviet Union they did things differently.
The Soviets had the “Night Witches”. A regiment of women pilots who terrified German troops by bombing them at night. They would swoop in silently, in the cover of night, with their engines turned off, drop their bombs, start their engines and get away as fast as they could. A lot of them were killed in action.
They struggled to get into the Soviet air force to begin with and once in they faced great difficulty overcoming the unsympathetic attitudes of their male compatriots. And if they came down, and ended up in German hands, the consequences were too awful to think about.
These were very brave and determined people and I want to include them in my body of work on WWII pilots - which so far is all male.
I want to find as many of these women pilots as I can, meet them, interview them and photograph them in the “then and now” style I have used with my male WWII pilots (I have photographed* and interviewed 24 WWII pilots in six countries).
This artist is doing a Kickstarter to fly to Russia and interview the last remaining Nachthexen he can find. He’ll interview them and publish transcripts of their interviews as well as before (WWII age) and after (current) pictures of these amazing women. His kickstarter really hasn’t taken off the ground, but considering how many people eagerly reblog the Nachthexen post every time it comes across their dash, maybe in the next two days we can get together the remainder of the money 1966 pounds.
This is knowledge that’s going to vanish soon as these incredibly women age and die. Please donate if you can, I really want to hear these women’s stories.
This Kickstarter ends August 17th at 5pm EDT. Let’s do this!
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