A chance for revenge

Bruce Henderson profiles the German Jews who interrogated Nazis for the US Army – and the choices they faced.

January 18, 2018 19:46
4 minute read.
THREE RITCHIE Boys – Guy Stern, Water Sears and Fred Howard – celebrate the end of the war on May 8,

THREE RITCHIE Boys – Guy Stern, Water Sears and Fred Howard – celebrate the end of the war on May 8, 1945. (photo credit: TANGRAM)


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Seek revenge or show restraint? How would a group of formerly powerless and persecuted Jews who had gained control over their former tormentors use their newfound power? Those “Ritchie Boys” – German Jews who escaped the Nazis and were serving in the US Army as interrogators of German POWs – faced some tough choices. In Sons and Soldiers: The Untold Story of the Jews Who Escaped the Nazis and Returned with the US Army to Fight Hitler, Bruce Henderson has profiled the honorable path chosen by these youngsters who carved out for themselves a triumph of decency.

As young men, they were intimidated and persecuted by the Nazis. Twentyyear- old Martin Selling was arrested and sent to Dachau to work as a slave laborer for three months; Gunther Stern and his father were both beaten up on the street; Stephan Lewy was kicked out of his public school; when Manfred Steinfeld, his family and the other Jews of his small town walked to synagogue, a man would order his dogs to “Go, get the Jews.”


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