One boy’s memory of the Hindenburg

It was 80 years ago this month that the LZ 129 Hindenburg exploded as it was attempting to dock at Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey.

Miraculously, 62 of the 97 passengers and crew survived. However, now there is only one remaining who escaped the disaster: 88-year-old Werner Doehner.

He was 8 years old on that fateful day, traveling home with his family from a vacation in Germany. His father and sister died in the crash. Werner, a brother and his mother escaped by jumping about 20 feet out a window of the airship.

“Suddenly the air was on fire,” Doehner said in an interview with The Associated Press.

This is a story about a 7-year-old boy who also saw the “air on fire.” He was watching from the attic of his house, six miles away.

It’s a memory that has stayed with Ed Frankman, 87, seared on his mind all these years later. I was talking on the phone with him on May 6, the anniversary of the tragedy.

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