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There used to be a very detailed section in his Wiki entry regarding all the suicide theories...but it has already beem updated with the Rippert material and all the rest lost now except for that one paragraph.Among numerous theories are that the crash was caused by a mechanical failure in engines or oxygen supply, or that the author committed suicide. The suicide theory is supported by the fact that the location of the plane indicates that it was very far off course, and appeared to have crashed vertically into the sea at a time when St. Exupery was depressed about being labelled a traitor by the deGaulle leadership of the Free French
Looks like Rippert was one of the approximately 150,000 Jewish servicemen within the ranks of the Wehrmacht during the war.It is interesting that there were a number of Luftwaffe pilots whose Jewish ancestry made them anathema to the powers that be, however the ancestry seemed to have been remote enough to keep them out of the concentration camps. One in particular who comes to mind is Horst Rippert who was long relegated as a lowly Obergefreiter flight instructor with JGr. Süd. He came to note in the spring & summer of 1944 with the Einsatzstaffel of JGr. Süd (later JGr. 200) claiming 19 Allied aircraft over Southern France. Presumably this sufficiently proved his loyalty to "Volk und Führer" as he subsequently was posted to IV./JG 27. He remained an Obergefreiter until at least March of 1945. In April 1945 he as a Feldwebel serving in II./JG 27 against the Soviets, surviving the war with a total of 28 victories.