University of Florida

MyCJC for Faculty & Staff

Skip to main Content   Search   Main Navigation   Quick Links   Resources   Website   Social   Address   What is this view

Main Navigation

Quick Links

“A Wing and a Prayer” airs this Sunday at 3 p.m. on WUFT-TV

Published: April 16th, 2015

Category: General News/Interest

Don’t forget, “A Wing and a Prayer” airs this Sunday at 3 p.m. on WUFT-TV.  The hour-long documentary tells the virtually unknown story of World War II aviators who raced against the clock in 1948 to prevent a second Holocaust.

The film was written, directed and produced by Boaz Dvir, an alumnus of the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications and a faculty member at Penn State University. It features exclusive interviews with operations leader Al Schwimmer and other American Jewish and Christian pilots who volunteered to fly transport and combat aircraft for Israel during its 1948 War of Independence.

It also features Dean Emeritus Ralph Lowenstein, who spent his spare time for 30 years archiving the American participation in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Lowenstein, who at 18 volunteered for Israel’s armored corps during that war, served as the film’s historical consultant. He was later a U.S. soldier during the Korean War.

The film’s other College connections include Tim Sorel, who served as director of photography.

American Public Television (APT) is releasing the film on the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII. Nearly 100 public broadcasting stations around the country will broadcast “A Wing and a Prayer,” which is narrated by William Baldwin (“Hawaii-Five-O,” “Parenthood”).

“A Wing and a Prayer” features firsthand accounts of daring escapes and heart-pounding action by Schwimmer and members of his group, including chief pilot Sam Lewis and Christian radio operator Eddie Styrak. Styrak, arrested by the British for trying to bring Holocaust survivors into the burgeoning Jewish state had to escape prison to join Schwimmer’s operation.

Schwimmer’s recruits thought they were done fighting after WWII, which ended in 1945. Yet Schwimmer convinced them to risk their lives and U.S. citizenship to give the newborn Jewish state a fighting chance in the 1948 Arab-Israel War, the stage for which was set six months earlier when the United Nations voted to partition British-controlled Palestine.

The morning after Israel declared independence on May 14, 1948, five well-equipped Arab armies invaded. The Jews’ return to their ancient land appeared short-lived. Only a miracle or an ingenious plan could save them.

Schwimmer’s plan called for eluding the FBI and outsmarting the U.S. State Department by creating a fictitious airline, buying war-surplus aircraft and smuggling in surplus Nazi weapons from behind the Iron Curtain. As a result, the Israeli air force in 1948 was English-speaking, with mostly American pilots.

Schwimmer and his American volunteers helped reshape history. Yet history books have ignored them. “A Wing and a Prayer” fills in that missing chapter.




Utility Links

Give Now

Social links


What is this view?

You are using a dynamic assistive view of the University of Florida site. It has all the same data and features of the original site but formatted just with assistive users in mind. It has links and content reorganized to aid assistive users and has controls at the bottom under assistive options that allow you to control key aspects such as font size and contrast colors etc.
This is not a separate text-only site, it's a dynamic view that uses unique technology from Usablenet to give assistive users better, more accessible access to the same content and features as all users that use the graphic view of the site.

Assistive Options

Top of page

Assistive Options

Open the original version of this page.

Usablenet Assistive is a Usablenet product. Usablenet Assistive Main Page.