Above and Beyond

1943 | War in Europe


The Incredible Escape of Jewish-American B-17 Pilot Bruce Sundlun from Nazi-Occupied Europe in World War II. During overseas active duty beginning in June 1943 Bruce Sundlun, a Jewish-American college student, served as a B-17 Flying Fortress pilot in the England-based 384th Bomb Group of the Eighth Air Force at Grafton-Underwood Air Base. Sundlun’s plane, the Damn Yankee, was shot down over Nazi-occupied Jabbeke, Belgium on 1 December 1943 after being damaged by flak and attacked by German fighter planes following the bombing of Solingen, Germany, on the “Yankee’s” 13th mission over Europe. Five of his crew were killed, four others captured by the Germans. After being smuggled out of Belgium on more than 100 stolen bicycles and hidden by Catholic priests and after six months’ time cooperating with the French Resistance under the code name Salamander, Bruce Sundlun made several attempts to enter neutral Spain in an effort to escape back to England. However, after deciding that there was too much danger of capture or loss in the snowy Pyrenees, Sundlun made his way, once again on stolen bicycles, north-eastward across France where he finally escaped into Switzerland. Narrated by Kara Sundlun.


Each of our documentary films has a corresponding quiz or essay question for use in the classroom by teachers and educators.

We encourage you to choose one of the PDFs below that is the best match for your students. It’s up to each educator if you would like to offer either the exam or the one-question essay. An answer sheet corresponds with each quiz.  Our goal is not to overwhelm students with dates, treaties, and strategy. Instead, we would rather focus their attention on the individual stories of the subjects of our documentaries. We find these visual stories to be inspiring, impactful, and educational.

We hope that after viewing one of our films, students will want to learn more about the personal stories of World War II generation. Maybe they do this by reading a book, watching another documentary, or perhaps a full-length film.  Maybe our films will inspire your students to ask an older family member about their role, or inquire about another relative’s story, in World War II.

We recommend the below curriculum for grades 7-12 and college.


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