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Print Document Description  Print this page Questions about authenticity? Click Here

WALTER DORENBERGER COLLECTION! - DOCUMENT 268179
 

IN 1958, FROM HIS OFFICE AT BELL AIRCRAFT, ROCKET ENGINEER WALTER DORNBERGER,WHO DEVELOPED THE V-2 ROCKET FOR GERMANY IN WORLD WAR II, SENDS A COLLECTOR A SIGNED PHOTOGRAPH OF HIM IN HIS UNIFORM AS A NAZI GENERAL IN 1944 WHICH HE JUST HAPPENS TO HAVE IN HIS DESK!
 
WALTER DORNBERGER.
Collection: (1) Typed Letter signed:
"Walter R. Dornberger" (as Technical Assistant to the President of Bell Aircraft), 1p, 8x11. Buffalo, N. Y., February 24 [1958]. To Mr. H. Schiller, Winston-Salem, North Carolina. On letterhead of Bell Aircraft Corporation. In full: "I received your letter of February 20 wherein no sketch was enclosed. However, I happened to have a similar sketch in my desk so I autographed it and am enclosing it with this letter, and it is hoped that you will accept it as a suitable substitute." Lightly creased. Otherwise, fine condition. (2) Illustration inscribed and signed: "Dr. Walter Dornberger/Major General (ret)/Buffalo, Feb 24, 1958". B/w, 4x6. Pencil note on verso (unknown hand): "Sketch of Walter Dornberger made in 1944". The sketch shows Dornberger in a German Army uniform. Fine condition. Dornberger (1895-1980) was a German rocket engineer who developed the infamous V-2 rocket for Germany during World War II. A German army veteran of World War I, Dornberger studied physics in the 1920s, becoming an engineer while remaining in military service. In 1932, he was approached by the German Spaceflight Society, attending an unsuccessful launch of a liquid fuel rocket they had designed. Through this organization, Dornberger met Wernher von Braun, whom he recruited to work on a secret rocket project for the German army. By 1937, Dornberger and von Braun needed more space for their rocket experiments, acquiring the test site of Peenemunde. A V-2 rocket was successfully test fired there (1942). In late 1944, control of rocket research was transferred to the SS, and Dornberger was reassigned. This may have saved his life. While a prisoner in Britain (1945-1947), Dornberger convinced his captors that he had never intended for the V-2 to target civilians, and that it was an SS decision to fire the weapon at London. He thus avoided trial as a war criminal. There was no doubt another reason for sparing Dornberger: his technical skills were now valued in the West. In 1947, he came to the U.S. as an advisor to the U.S. Air Force. From 1950-1965, he worked for Bell Aircraft. While his former colleague von Braun continued to work on ballistic rocket design, Dornberger shifted his efforts to the Dyna-Soar project, which eventually evolved into the Space Shuttle. He retired in 1965, living his remaining years in Germany. Two items.


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MAJOR GENERAL WALTER R. DORNBERGER  


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