'Watching the Moon landing 50 years ago from his comfortable Paris home, Yves Beon could barely contain himself at the spectacle unfolding on TV.
Dozens of white-shirted scientists and engineers at the Apollo Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas, were on their feet, many waving flags, cheering at a triumph that was enhancing American prestige and unleashing an ocean of apple-pie patriotism.
Yet Beon, a hero of the French Resistance, was spitting venom at the screen that night and, had he been alive to see last week’s documentaries repeating the footage of Neil Armstrong’s ‘giant leap for mankind’, his reaction would have been incandescent.
Amid the jubilation half a century ago, no one bothered to point out that America’s scientists had been given a huge helping hand. Or that the Moon landing was, in fact, the brainchild of German scientists led by Wernher von Braun, Kurt Debus and Arthur Rudolph. Or that all three were Nazi war criminals, guilty of mass murder.
The 1969 footage of the three German scientists embracing each other in the centre of the Houston control room never reached the global television audience – and neither was it broadcast amid last week’s 50th anniversary celebrations.
The fact that more than 130 German scientists were employed on the design and production of the Apollo 11 Moon landing was conveniently ignored at the time of the mission, and no wonder. These men were veterans of the infamous programme to build V2 rockets, the secret weapons that Hitler believed would obliterate London and save Germany from defeat in the Second World War.
‘Everyone forgot the hell those Nazis created to build their rocket,’ Beon recalled when we met in 1986. ‘They were b******s with brains. The world forgot that 20,000 innocent men were murdered by those Germans.’'#
Read more: The shameful truth: America only put a man on the moon with the help of Nazi monsters - not that anyone will admit it amid all the hype about the 50-year anniversary