The Buchenwald airmen were members of Allied air crews who were shot down and captured by the Gestapo after evading capture for varying periods. As the ground war in France turned against the Germans, the captured airmen were condemned to death and held in Fresnes Prison near Paris. On 15 August 1944 they were loaded into boxcars along with over 2000 French civilians and transported to Germany. The French women were sent to Ravensbruk and the French men and the Allied airmen continued to Buchenwald. After nine weeks in Little Camp, the foulest part of Buchenwald, the surviving airmen were scheduled for execution when those fit to move were evacuated by the Luftwaffe and transferred to Stalag Luft III in Zagan. In late December, SL III was evacuated by forced march in blizzard conditions. The men from South Compound ended up in Stalag VIIA in Moosburg, but other compounds were distributed to a variety of different POW camps (Stalag I, Stalag Luft IIIA, Stalag XIII-D, and Marlag und Mirlag Nord. Some of these men stayed at those camps until they were liberated in mid-April, but most of those at XIIID were marched to join the crowd at Stalag VIIA, which was liberated on 29 April 1945. After debriefing by the OSS and medical treatment, the Buchenwald airmen went to Camp Lucky Strike to await transport to the US.
After the war, all records of the Buchenwald airmen were classified and inaccessible to other government agencies. As a result, their accounts were discounted and the men considered to be delusional or lying to get undue medical benefits and support. The airmen's records remain classified until the late 1970s, after the death of Wernher von Braun and the end of Project Paperclip. Unfortunately many key documents concerning the US airmen were lost in a fire at the National Archives in St. Louis in 1973, before they were declassified. Scattered copies of some records were held by other departments of the government. Some of the records of the Commonwealth airmen remain classified today.
In 1945 a Congressional report stated in categorical terms that no US military personnel were held in concentration camps. No formal correction has been made to that record. Attempts were initiated by the Buchenwald airmen to gain recognition of their experiences and their service in 1993, 1995, and 1997. Two of those resolutions passed the House but both died in the Senate Judiciary Committee. So few of the airmen remained alive by 1997 that what the airmen called the KLB Club (Konzentration Lager Buchenwald) for all practical purposes ceased to exist, and no further attempts were made to correct the record. One more attempt is now planned, and I will post updates if it gains traction.
The US Air Force has acknowledged the Buchenwald airmen with an exhibit at the Air Force Museum. However, the airmen are shown in uniform, rather than in civilian clothes, and there is no mention of the decades-long denial of their experiences by other branches of the government.