As World War II raged in Europe, the Independent State of Croatia, nestled along the Adriatic Coast, found itself under the influence of foreign powers. Over the course of the war, Croatia became the unlikely host and protector of nearly a hundred U.S. airmen who crash-landed there and were taken prisoner by the Croatian Armed Forces. Through the personal accounts of several of the POWs, as well as that of a young American priest whom faith and war placed in their midst, we follow the events that transpired.
Our film relies on the scholarship of Charles Michael McAdams, historian, journalist, U.S. Marine, defender of truth, educator and true American friend of the Croatian people. The American airmen survived, not by chance, but due to the intervention and protection offered by political, military, and religious leaders, as well as private citizens in the Independent State of Croatia. While the American airmen all returned home safely at the end of the war, that wasn't the case for Croatian people. Many of them were killed by Tito's Partisans after the war had ended. Croatian Air Commander Dubai, who tried to negotiate with the Partisans for the transfer of U.S. airmen to a safe zone, was shot on the spot.
May those who gave our American pilots safe shelter during those harsh times, forever be remembered for their bravery and kindness.
Director Nikola Knez
Producer Damir O. Rados
Screenplay Dorothy S. McClellan
Film Genre Documentary, History, Independent State of Croatia