SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A World War II Veteran who sacrificed his life for the country is now being honored in his native Electric City.

Three U.S. Airmen made the ultimate sacrifice when their plane was shot down over Hanau, Germany on February 17, 1945.

Among them was 22-year-old Joseph Eugene Prokop, a West Scranton native. As a German Historian began research for the 75 anniversary of WWII, the truth behind the young men’s death was uncovered.

“When the family was notified, they were just notified that the plane was shot down and he was killed. They had no idea that the three airmen actually survived,” explained David Eisele, the Director of Lackawanna County Veterans’ Affairs.

The three were taken prisoner, but when the nazis discovered one soldier was Jewish, they were murdered.

Upon discovering Prokop had family living in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Germany made it their mission to make up for past mistakes.

“To find out that Germany said, ‘Hey, you know we messed up, we marked this down wrong and it was actually murder and we want to make it right and honor these three airmen properly.’ It was a big surprise,” Eisele added.

David Eisele, the Director of Lackawanna County Veterans’ Affairs was invited to Germany to speak on behalf of Prokop and the City of Scranton. During a ceremony, a plaque in honor of the fallen veterans was placed in the city where they died.

“Being a county director you don’t think you’re gonna become an international speaker, but it was a great honor because we are such a Veteran community here and we’re always honoring our Veterans and trying to teach the younger generations to never forget,” Eisele continued.

Eisele was given an identical plaque to bring back home to Scranton. It is proudly displayed outside of Lackawanna County Courthouse.

“We wanted everyone to see it and remember, hey, war is war, and we can’t forget what these men and women go through,” Eisele stated.

Now, Prokop and his fellow airmen’s legacy will never be forgotten in the Electric City and Germany.

The plaque joins the many honored within Lackawanna County Veterans’ Memorial Plaza in downtown Scranton.