Polish town touts ties to WWI ace Red Baron





Baron Manfred von Richthofen buzzed above the muddy World War I battlefields in his red Fokker tri-plane, downing a record 80 Allied aircraft on his way to becoming the war's top fighter ace and earning the famed "Red Baron" nom de guerre.

But von Richthofen, who was shot down and killed just before his 26th birthday in 1918, has been a legend in limbo since Poland's borders moved west after World War II and swallowed the baron's hometown of Schweidnitz -- today called Swidnica.

Honoring a German soldier in Poland, which lost some 6 million citizens under the Nazi occupation, can still be a touchy issue. The two countries continue to wrestle with efforts by some Germans to regain property lost to Poland when the borders shifted west after World War II.

Swidnica resident Jerzy Gaszynski is trying to change that with a new memorial to the Red Baron, and reckons he might even pull in a few tourists at the same time.


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