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David Westheimer papers

 Collection — Container: Single Folder Collections - 2001 Box 16 (01.0407-01.0420), Folder: 01.0418 - Folder
Identifier: 01.0418

Scope and Contents

This collection relates to David Westheimer who served as a 1st Lieutenant Navigator on a B-24 Bomber with the 457th Bomb Group during World War II and was shot down over Italy where he became a POW. This collection consists of an oral history transcript of David Westheimer.


  • created: 1941-1945
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1943
  • Other: Date acquired: 01/14/2000


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to all researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to quote, publish, broadcast or otherwise reproduce from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Associate Dean for Special Collections & Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Florida State University Libraries as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

Biographical or Historical Information

David Westheimer was part of a bomber crew that spent most of the war in a POW camp in Germany.  He was shot down over Italy and later transferred to Germany where he spent the remainder of the war in German Pow Camps including Stalag 7A. After the war, he wrote a book about his experiences titled Sitting it Out.  In his interview, he compares his experiences to many Hollywood movies. He also describes being Jewish and a part of a Young Men's Hebrew Association in the POW camp in Germany.

Born on April 11, 1917, in Texas, David Westheimer graduated from San Jacinto High school in 1933 and worked for the Houston Post as a journalist from 1940 to 1960. Moving to Los Angeles to write full time, he was the author of fifteen novels and one non-fiction book. He is well known for his best sellers Von Ryan's Express, a 1965 20th Century Fox Oscar-nominated movie and My Sweet Charlie, a 1966 Emmy Award television movie. In the Army Air Forces during World War II, he served as a navigator on a B-24 bomber. He was shot down in 1942 and spent 28 months in POW camps. He also served in the Korean War and left the service as Lieutenant Colonel, recipient of an Air Medal and Distinguished Flying Cross. The Greast Wounded Bird is his recollections of World War II. His last novel, Delay En Route, was published in 2002 and is a lighthearted tale of an American POW. He passed away on November 8, 2015, of heart failure. He was survived by his wife Dody and son Fred D. Westheimer.


1.00 folders

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note


Custodial History

Transferred from the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience to FSU Libraries Special Collections & Archives in July 2022.

Source of Acquisition

David Westheimer

Method of Acquisition


David Westheimer papers
Craig Whittington
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the FSU Special Collections & Archives Repository

116 Honors Way
PO Box 3062047
Tallahassee FL 32306-2047 US