A War Department Cover-up Scandal
Over 1,000 US Soldiers were killed when Hitler’s secret weapon hit their ship in WWII. The radio-guided missile attack resulted in the greatest loss of life at sea by enemy action in the history of US war. However, the German assault on the HMT Rohna was erased from history, along with the men who died when the burning ship sank to the bottom of the sea.
Survivors Were Ordered to Remain Silent
The US War Department declared the Rohna attack “Classified” ordering all survivors to remain silent in a cover-up scandal that left a thousand Gold Star families in the dark.
Do you have 28 seconds? Click on play and hear what the survivors have to say...
1015 Heroes Were Killed in a Missile Attack and Then Forgotten
The families were never told what happened to their boys and their remains still lay at the bottom of the sea. In most cases, there were no funeral services or burials for the forgotten heroes. Six months after the attack, the Gold Star families received one short paragraph confirming the demise of their loved one in a telegram that also stated that there was "no information available." That was it; the boys just never came home.
Families were Put Through Unnecessary Pain and Anguish
The US Government's first sin regarding the attack was the War Department's decision to mislead the Gold Star families giving them false hope for six months when they knew that the 1015 heroes died. The second one was that they Classified the attack indefinitely.
What Went Wrong and How Did This Happen?
The reason for the cover-up and the secrecy behind the Rohna attack is a 75-year-old question that gets complicated. The HMT Rohna was a British transport ship with an Australian Captain and an Indian crew who were transporting American soldiers. The ship was considered unfit for wartime transportation and in poor condition. It was overcrowded, lifeboats were not in working order, appropriate drills and procedures for operating emergency equipment were not followed. We are still researching and investigating how and why this attack stayed classified even after the war was over as well as why families of the casualties were never told how their boys died.
How This Film Got Started
I was moving things around in my attic when I came across 23 letters written by a young man who was killed in WWII. The soldier was Sgt. Joseph Pisinski, he was my wife's great uncle. Those letters led me to discovering one of Hitler’s secret weapon attacks that was covered-up by the War Department. It was the first time a radio-guided missile was ever used against the US and resulted in the greatest loss of life at sea by enemy action in the history of US war. This is one of the letters he wrote to his mother from training camp.
The Outreach Program
The ROHNA: CLASSIFIED team is on a mission to not only make a great documentary, but also to carry out the promise that the survivors made to find every family of the casualties and tell them the truth. Our Outreach Program, includes a "Casualty Search" page on our website. It is headed by Sunny Duncanson and Tracey Bannon whose uncle was a casualty in the Rohna attack. The Outreach Program also includes Rohna programs around the country as well as a Social Studies curriculum that teachers will be able to download from our website. Our goal is not only to get this story into the history books where it belongs, but it will also honor the forgotten soldiers and let their families know the truth behind this historic attack.
Documentary Preview Trailer
The Rohna documentary will be told through the lives of 3 soldiers who were on the Rohna and one who was on the ship next to it. Two other subjects of the film include the German scientist who invented the the radio-guided missile and was smuggled back to the US and the commanding pilot who launched the deadly missile and asked his son to meet the survivors and apologize on his behalf. With your help, we will tell this story of fate, love, war and triumph. Watch our preview below:
How We Will Use the Funds That We Raise
Rohna: Classified has been in pre-production for the last year. We have been researching, writing, working on an amazing Outreach Program, making contacts with family members of the subjects and historians, as well as filming and editing promos. We've completed a fundraising reel and premiered our website and Social Media pages. This first phase of fundraising will allow us to move into production as we continue to submit grant applications and pitch Rohna: Classified to networks. These funds will allow us to travel and film in the different locations throughout the country and to continue researching the US and UK National Archives.
The Rohna: Classified Team
Risks and challenges
The greatest challenge we have with this documentary is taking on the responsibility of telling such an important story. The research involved with this historic event and getting the facts straight will not be an easy task, but we not only have archive professionals and WWII historians involved with project but also actual experts in the technology used for this historic attack.
We already have over thirty hours of interviews with survivors who give riveting firsthand accounts of the attack. It's also important to note that this film production is fueled by passion. All of the crew members are industry professionals who also have a family member who was on the Rohna during the attack. The team is 100% committed to seeing Rohna: Classified completed at the highest level as we work endlessly to search for the truth while telling a compelling story. We plan for the film to be completed in 2020.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)