ORLANDO, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - A French man discovered an American soldier’s helmet from World War II at a flea market in France and has contacted the 96-year-old veteran who owned the helmet.
When a German mortar hit a French church, a piece of the building flew right at George Braunstein, of Orlando, Florida. He was serving in the U.S. Army in France.
“When I realized it's gonna hit me I turned my head. I didn't want to see it kill me. That saved my life, because of instead of hitting my head it sliced me,” Braunstein said from his senior living center in Orlando.
He ended up in a military hospital, and his helmet stayed on that battlefield in France. Somehow, the helmet made its way to a flea market in a nearby French city, where history buff Jean Voltz bought it. Voltz used the helmet's serial number to match it to Braunstein, using declassified military records, and then reached out to the veteran. Braunstein was stunned and impressed.
“I think it's remarkable that he's even interested!” Braunstein said.
Voltz has been in touch with the administrators at Braunstein’s senior living center. They say he wants to visit, meet Braunstein and hear his story -- which includes liberating a concentration camp and earning a Bronze Star Medal. Braunstein says he's looking forward to it, adding that everyone should learn from history.
“History is the main ingredient of the future. Most people don't care about history at all.”
Administrators at Braunstein’s senior living center say they're working with Voltz to get Braunstein’s helmet back.