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The Ritchie Boys - German Jews who fled Nazi Germany to become American GIs

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They didn't get to Europe until D-Day.
That was the plan. They were a secret weapon. Unlike some American GIs who had been drafted and didn't really want to go to war, the Ritchie Boys really wanted to.
They were Jews born in Germany.
They had fled Nazi terrorism. Many were the oldest sons in their families, sent to safety when it became clear that Hitler intended to solve his "Jewish problem" . Many of these young men left large families behind. Most of these young men would be the only survivors in those large families. Some of these young men were in American Army units that liberated the Nazi death camps. Some of these young men liberated the death camp where their family had been murdered.
They were called the Ritchie Boys because they had their Army training at Camp Ritchie in Maryland.
They were a secret weapon because they were Germans. They knew the German language, the terrain the Allied Armies would be moving in. They knew the German psyche.
They were trained in intelligence gathering and in interrogation methods.
They knew how to exploit the weaknesses and fears of the captured German soldiers. They knew how to obtain vital information that would aid the Allied advances. But they weren't desk soldiers. They were combat soldiers. They fought in hard battles. The move out of Normandy, the Battle of Hurtgenwald, the Battle of the Bulge. Some died. Some won Silver Stars and Purple Hearts. Some were taken prisoner by the Germans. Those captured weren't treated as prisoners of war according to the Geneva Convention. They were Germans, they were Jews. They were executed, often after days of interrogation and torture. But they knew this was a possibility when they embarked for Europe on the troop ships. More than the American born GIs , the Ritchie Boys took the war personally. Call it vengeance or just retribution.
They needed, with every cell in their body, to destroy the Nazi Regime, to end the Third Reich.

Jacob Aach
Werner Angress
Henry Arnhold
Hans Baruch
John Peter Bauer
Gerhard Baum
Walter Cole
Barry van Dam
Ralph Falkenstein
Dittmar Friede


Freddie Haarburger
Hank Herzberg
Kurt Jacobs
Hugo Kahn
Erich Kirchheimer
Si Lewin
Ernst Lilienstein
Fritz Lilienstein
Frederick Mayer
Rudi Mayer
Rudy Michaelis
Edward Morgan


Paul Rabinek
Albert Rosenberg
Martin Selling
Max Silberman
Hans Speir
Manny Steinfeld
Murray Zappler

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