Sons and Soldiers: The Untold Story of the Jews Who Escaped the Nazis and Returned with the U.S. Army to Fight Hitler by Bruce HendersonJoining the ranks of Unbroken, Band of Brothers, and Boys in the Boat, the little-known saga of young German Jews, dubbed The Ritchie Boys, who fled Nazi Germany in the 1930s, came of age in America, and returned to Europe at enormous personal risk as members of the U.S. Army to play a key role in the Allied victory.
In 1942, the U.S. Army unleashed one of its greatest secret weapons in the battle to defeat Adolf Hitler: training nearly 2,000 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, 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 never-before-told chapter of the Second World War to light. Sons and Soldiers traces their stories from childhood and their escapes from Nazi Germany, through their feats and sacrifices during the war, to their desperate attempts to find their missing loved ones in war-torn Europe. Sons and Soldiers is an epic story of heroism, courage, and patriotism that will not soon be forgotten.
Band of Brothers Points
Howard Manoian was a local hero in the Normandy village that he had retired to - feted for his tales of sacrifice in liberating France from the Nazis. Numerous admirers heard how he was shot in the hand and legs by a German machine gun during a fire fight and then again by a Messerschmitt which strafed the field hospital where he was recovering. In his new home of Chef-du-Pont a plaque in his honour sits beside the entrance to the village museum to his former division, 82nd Airborne.
Axis History Forum
As the camp's liberators approached, barracks were torched by Nazi officers, killing countless prisoners who were too malnourished to flee the flames. The survivors, dying on their feet, circulated the camp grounds, which were littered with skeletons. Commanding officer Dick Winters, played by Damian Lewis, pushes him for answers. But Perconte is clearly unable to comprehend what he has seen, never mind explain it. Beethoven's String Quartet Number 14 swells on the score as Winters and his men are confronted by frail and miserable prisoners. One holds the flopping body of a relative who is all but dead. Another kisses the cheeks of his liberators before being reduced to tears.
Band of Brothers: French soldiers execute Germans
On the 75 anniversary of D-Day, those who took part in the invasion of France by the Allied forces and landed on the beaches of Normandy will be remembered as they are every year. Both British and American troops took part in what was the largest seaborne invasion in history. The operation began the liberation of of German-occupied France and later Europe, laying the foundations of the Allied victory on the Western Front. Of course, D-Day and the men who landed at or parachuted in to Normandy have been the focus of countless films, documentaries and dramas since. It begins with their jump training in Toccoa, Georgia and follows them all the way through to the end of the campaign in Europe. Several different characters are focused on in each episode, but it is perhaps the Edinburgh born Lieutenant Colonel Ronald Speirs who is most intriguing. Played by American actor Matthew Settle, he gains notoriety amongst the soldiers of the entire after a disturbing story starts circulating amongst the men.
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