People mostly see themselves as ordinary without anything to share to the world. Most of us cruise through life with a pretty regular routine and the occasional exciting event here and there. Daniel Rom Kristiansen, your regular teenager, was probably of the same opinion until March 2017, when he made a shocking discovery for his history school project for which he’d make world news. So what did he discover and why was it so shocking, and more importantly, what did it reveal about WWII? Keep reading to find out.
Daniel Rom Kristiansen was just your average 14-year-old teenage boy living a textbook kind of life with his family on a farm in breathtaking Birkelse, Denmark, when his life took an excitingly unexpected turn in March, 2017. There usually isn’t anything too exciting to report from Scandinavia, but this made world news.
It all started when Kristiansen started working on a history school project that required him to carry out research on World War II. He didn’t plan on discovering anything groundbreaking, especially something that would send shock waves across the world. In fact, the reason for his discovery was just a result of a joke his father, Klaus, made in connection to the project.
When Kristiansen came home with a history assignment, his father immediately recalled a story his own grandfather repeatedly told him about something which happened on the farm 73 years ago. The Kristiansen family have lived on the farm for several generations where they graze cattle and toil the land as agricultural workers.
Klaus, Daniel’s father, told the Danish radio station, DR P4 Nordjylland: “When Daniel was recently given homework about World War Two, I jokingly told him to go out and find the plane that is supposed to have crashed out in the field.” Klaus thought the story might have been one of his grandfather’s tall tales. Was it?
After his father made the joke, the Kristiansen men decided to go on an historical escapade. With metal detectors in hand, both went to the field. Klaus thought they’d probably only find plates or similar objects with the detector, but both were absolutely oblivious of what was to come.
They moved the metal detector over a mound of boggy ground where the detector started beeping. They dug up some of the earth only to realize that they would have to dig deeper, and so they borrowed an excavator from the neighbors. So what exactly was buried underground?
The Kristiansens carefully drilled four to six feet down where they happened upon about 2000-5000 pieces of metal debris of what appeared to be broken pieces of a plane. They then dug a little deeper and found an engine of a Messerschmitt BF 109 plane and Luftwaffe munitions, including bullets from the machine guns.
But what they found seven feet down is what truly left the father and son dumbfounded. After digging a bit deeper, they found shocking objects that were hidden just below the surface for 73 years.
The Kristiansens discovered remains of bones and clothes, which had to have belonged to the pilot that was trapped in the cockpit during the crash. The clothing items buried underground were a jacket and trousers, parts of a Nazi pilot uniform.
It seemed that everything Klaus’s grandfather had told him was true. History has a way of revealing itself somehow; even if it’s buried seven feet underground for decades without anyone knowing much about it. But that wasn’t all…
Once they uncovered the bones, jacket, and trousers of the pilot, they started digging in the pockets of the clothes in which they found a wallet with Nazi emblems and insignia, some German money, and cigarette rolling paper.
Klaus Kristiansen in an interview with BBC recalls: “And then we found some personal things – books, a wallet with money…either it was a little Bible or it was Mein Kampf – a book in his pocket. We didn’t touch it, we just put it in some bags.” That’s when they realized they should call authorities and not tamper with anything further. But who was this pilot? And why did he crash his plane? Read on to find out.