Sons and Soldiers

Sons and Soldiers

The Untold Story of the Jews Who Escaped the Nazis and Returned With the U.S. Army to Fight Hitler

eBook - 2017
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As Jewish families were trying desperately to get out of Europe during the menacing rise of Hitler's Nazi party, some chose to send their young sons away to uncertain futures in America, perhaps never to see them again. As these boys became young men, they were determined to join the fight in Europe. In 1942, the U.S. Army unleashed one of its greatest secret weapons in the battle to defeat Adolf Hitler: training nearly 2,000 of these German-born Jews in special interrogation techniques and making use of their mastery of the German language, history, and customs. Known as the Ritchie Boys after the Maryland camp where they were trained, they were sent in small, elite teams to join every major combat unit in Europe, where they interrogated German POWs and gathered crucial intelligence that saved American lives and helped win the war. Though they knew what the Nazis would do to them if they were captured, the Ritchie Boys eagerly joined the fight to defeat Hitler. As they did, many of them did not know the fates of their own families left behind in occupied Europe. Taking part in every major campaign in Europe, they collected key tactical intelligence on enemy strength, troop and armored movements, and defensive positions. A postwar Army report found that more than sixty percent of the credible intelligence gathered in Europe came from the Ritchie Boys. Bruce Henderson draws on personal interviews with many surviving veterans and extensive archival research to bring this chapter of the Second World War to light.
Publisher: New York, NY :, William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers,, [2017]
Copyright Date: ♭2017
ISBN: 9780062419118
Branch Call Number: Online eBook
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file, rda
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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Jan 11, 2018

This Bruce Henderson book is an astounding historical study. It is about Jewish boys who escaped Nazi Germany, came to the United States, became citizens, joined the US Army, were trained as interrogators, and placed in front-line units to gather intelligence from captured German prisoners of war and local inhabitants. I am an avid reader of World War II history books and had never heard of this group of people; never even occurred to me that such a group might exist. I am amazed at the creativity and foresight of the Army to see the potential for these people as valuable intelligence assets in the front lines and in setting up the training programs to bring their skills and desires to help defeat Hitler and find out what happened to their families. The book is mesmerizing as the story is told through the eyes of multiple graduates of the Army program as they describe both their experiences as interrogators, but also their heart-wrenching stories of growing up normally in Germany, only to see their lives turned upside down with the rise of Hitler and the Nazis's. Well worth reading as history, and as a glimpse of what happens to real people, including young children, when people who spew ethnic hatred come into power, surround themselves with like-minded people, demand unquestioned loyalty, demonize their own citizens and opponents, and make laws that normalize the estrangement, isolation, displacement and even death of fellow human beings.

Nov 14, 2017

excellent read of history and a story that indeed needed to be told, more from the Greatest Generation!

Oct 11, 2017

The author is accumulating a whole shelf of good books to read. A must for WW2 fans.

Sep 23, 2017

Reminiscent of "The Women who Wrote the War", to the extent that it's highly journalistic in style and content. Henderson traces the early lives a half dozen Jewish boys and young men (i.e. their escape from Nazi-controlled Europe) and follows their transition into U.S. soldiers and their return to play a vital part in defeating the Hitler regime. The most remarkable aspect of their story is surely the sheer courage it took for them to return to the field of battle, knowing that were they to be captured, they would almost certainly not be treated as ordinary POWs but rather would be killed, as indeed some of them were.

Sep 16, 2017

Interesting well told story of refugees who escaped Nazi persecution and returned to Europe as US soldiers in WWII.

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