Nevertheless, today I came upon a story that made me feel proud of my German ancestors: the American B-17 pilot Charles Brown had the task of dropping thousands of pounds of munitions on Nazi territories. In December 1943, a sudden German attack on his plane left half of his crew wounded and their plane almost defenseless over enemy terrain. Then, as things couldn't get worse, a German Messerschmitt plane approached them with all the mean intentions. On the manche was 2nd Lt. Franz Stigler, an ace fighter who had just lost his brother, killed by American pilots. But then, just as Brown thought he and he wrecked crew were doomed, Stigler gave him a friendly nod by the window and escorted his aircraft to safety.
This happened because Franz noticed that Brown's plane and crew were incapable of any resistance - it was riddled with holes, their gunner was dead and the few survivors were all huddled, tendind to their wounds -, so, killing them would be a coward and unfair act. He decided, instead, of flying in formation with the American bomber, which tricked German anti-air crews below into thinking it was one of their own captured B-17s. Stigler continued this until they reached the North Sea, when he gave the Americans one last salute and returned back to base. Brown, after a while, was able to land in Allied territory.
Believe it or not, forty years later, the two pilots found each other and became the best of friends, even calling each other brothers and going on several fishing trips.
And all of that because, in 1943, Stigler remembered his commanding officers words: "You fight by rules to keep your humanity."