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WWII vet’s heroics documented

November 7, 2018 GMT

Nicole Lehrman has long known her grandfather Gabriel DeLobbe’s life story is worth preserving, but she never imagined it would be captured in a 30-minute documentary.

DeLobbe, a Fort Wayne resident and photographer, was a Belgian resistance fighter during World War II. He was 14 when, in 1940, Nazis invaded his hometown. By 18, he was sabotaging German supply routes and protecting downed Allied airmen in the Ardennes Forest.

He was regularized in the U.S. Army after Belgium’s liberation and marched into Germany. Along with fighting in the Battle of Remagen, he helped liberate the Buchenwald concentration camp.


Those details are included in the summary for “Saboteur,” a documentary premiering Thursday on WIPB-TV in Muncie. The film blossomed from a conversation between Lehrman, a 2017 Ball State University graduate, and adviser Chris Flook two years ago.

“He was floored that my grandfather fought in the war,” in his homeland, Lehrman said.

Flook suggested she do more to tell DeLobbe’s story.

So she did.

Lehrman recruited friends to help with the project, which was completed on their own time : not for a class.

DeLobbe, now 92, was agreeable to the idea and revealed a detail previously unknown to Lehrman, she said: He briefly interacted with Gen. George Patton.

A trailer for “Saboteur” includes DeLobbe describing his sabotage efforts.

“We used to put sugar in the gasoline tank,” DeLobbe said.

Lehrman, who works in the Atlanta film industry, is pleased with the finished product, which is enhanced with stock footage and her narration. People don’t need to be history buffs to appreciate it, she said.

“I’m so happy with it,” Lehrman said, noting her family plans to watch it on Thanksgiving.

She credited Flook, who is also a telecommunications lecturer, for helping the documentary become a reality.

“I just had a grandfather with a really cool story,” she said.