One of the biggest customers in America of plane wrecks scattered across the steppes and marshlands of Russia is Gerald Yagen, founder of the Fighter Factory in Suffolk, Virginia. He
restores what are sometimes just fragments of aircraft into flying machines again, painted in the colours and insignia that they bore when they were lost in action over 60 years ago."I love these planes," said Yagen
."And I want to see them in the air again."
In the past five years he
has exported five ME-109s to his Fighter Factory
.But those who care for the graves of ordinary German soldiers buried in Russia fear that this organised treasure hunting on battlefields where wholesale slaughter occurred will only lead to the desecration of more gravesites.
They point to authorities in Ukraine where an office operated by the authorities called the State Organisation for Export and Import of Military and Special Products touts finds to individuals and museums around the world.It sends faxes of finds and invites bids for tanks, weapons and planes scoured from the battlefields.The Bundeswehr - German army
- Museum in Dresden has received offers.