Reporting Ken MacLeod
SALEM (CBS) – For more than six decades, two sisters from Salem thought their brother was buried with other World War II vets near New York.
But now they have learned that their sibling’s body is not in that grave.
The retired schoolteachers are now trying to cope with the real story that was just revealed to them by the military.
WBZ-TV’s Ken MacLeod reports
Sisters Christine and Theresa Miaskiewicz didn’t believe it when they first got the call.
Their brother Mieczyslaus, or “Mashie”, was killed when his B-17 bomber was shot down by Nazi anti-aircraft fire over the former Yugoslavia during World War II, and whose remains, they mistakenly thought, were long ago buried stateside.
Just a few days ago, military experts delivered a report, confirmed by DNA, admitting that Mashie’s body was actually found by Yugoslav locals back in 1944, wrapped in his tangled parachute some distance from the wreckage. It was buried by a man’s grandfather in a grave site quietly maintained by villagers ever since.
Knowing the truth after 67 years is bittersweet.
“It’s hard to accept the fact that we didn’t have him here all that time,” says Theresa.
Mashie’s remains have already been removed from the Bosnian mountainside, and are now at an Army morgue in Germany, along with his dog tags, wallet and crucifix. The sisters say it will be several weeks before his remains can be buried in the family plot in at St. Mary’s cemetery in Salem.