Mike's Personal Photos
The Linz North Main Marshaling Yard in 2012, as seen from the highway overpass looking south.
The balcony above the Old Town Hall where Adolf Hitler addressed a huge crowd after entering Linz as its conqueror in March 1938.
The Linz middle school Adolf Hitler attended between 1900 and 1903 was abandoned for years but reopened in 2017 as a hotel. Mike Croissant decided to stop by and edit the manuscript of Bombing Hitler's Hometown in the hotel lobby during a 2019 visit to Linz.
A large air raid shelter under central Linz is now open for guided tours.
Austrian civilian Anna Oecker Studener was five years old during the Linz raid and took shelter in the cellar of her residential building. Decades later, she still suffered flashbacks at the sound of weekly tests of the Austrian civil defense siren system. “One who didn’t experience it can’t imagine it,” she told Mike in 2019.
The headquarters of the Gestapo—the German secret police—in Linz was struck and destroyed by an errant bomb during the raid. A new building has risen in its place, and a historical marker is displayed at the entrance.
The site in Muhlbach, Austria, where the tail section of B-17 "Old Folks" came to rest after the bomber broke apart over the village. The Flying Fortress sustained heavy damage over Linz, and half of its crew were wounded.
Franz Kropik, as an 11-year-old member of the German Youngsters in the Hitler Youth, was one of the first on the scene when "Old Folks" came apart over Muhlbach. In 2019, he led Mike to the crash site.
The Wall of Lamentations, just inside the main entrance of the Mauthausen concentration camp, where SS officers mistreated members of the Robert Sinton crew.
The Aschen-Friedhof—Ash Cemetery—on the grounds of the Mauthausen Memorial in all likelihood contains the remains of two American airmen who died in the Linz raid. Their ashes are intermixed with those of the many thousands of victims of Nazi extermination at Mauthausen.
Ken Becker enjoys the view from the deck of his lakeside home in Wisconsin during a break in his interview with Mike. Becker—one of more than 50 survivors of the Linz mission that Mike interviewed—completed 17 missions as a navigator with the 99th Bomb Group.
The approach to Torre Giulia, the former estate of olive and fig groves and vineyards commandeered by the 459th Bomb Group in southern Italy in early 1944. The facility is now used to celebrate weddings and other special occasions, and the owners have created a memorial to the bomber crews.
Mike returns Ellsworth Croissant's Air Medal to the area where his squadron's tent city used to be.
The site of the Prkos emergency landing field, Croatia, in 2019. Several bombers damaged over Linz landed here for fuel and/or repairs.
Mike prepares to take flight on Diamond Lil, one of the only B-24 Liberators still flying, in 2015.
In 2012, Mike (right) visited the First Congregational Church in Peru, Illinois, where his father, Harold (left), and uncle, Ellsworth (center), posed for a photo in 1944. Ellsworth's funeral service was held there in September 1945.
Mike visited his uncle's grave in 2012 and made a silent promise to tell his story. With Bombing Hitler's Hometown, Mike kept his promise.
Mike told the story of Bombing Hitler's Hometown at the 2023 reunion of the Fifteenth Air Force.